Cleaning out my closet

The pancake turner threw me. Oh, there was an assortment of stuff that had accumulated over a number of years.

Most of it looked like it might have had some use in a newspaper office at one time. But the pancake turner? Or was it for hamburgers?
It all started last week when I decided to clean out the large walk-in closet next to my office.
The closet shelves were weighed down with lots of things that should have been thrown out years ago.
Well, actually it didn’t start last week. It started May 8, 2009, the first day I came to work at the Gazette. My new boss, who was there from our central office in Kentucky, was walking around with me, checking out the Gazette building.
When he opened the closet door, he took a look at the messy, packed shelves and suggested I get a dumpster and clean the place out. I think I mumbled something about how I would get right on it.
I didn’t.
The bottom shelves got cleaned off (actually the stuff floated off) when the Tallahatchie River flooded in May 2010, but the rest of the closet was still the same as when I first came to work. I didn’t really need the closet space, so I procrastinated.
But last Friday I decided it was time to clean it up.
Why now? Did I mention that my boss was making his first visit back to New Albany on Sunday and Monday.
Yep, I got right on it. By the time I had it under control Friday afternoon, I had hauled three dolly-loads of boxes to the dumpster.
What a mish-mash! Let’s see. Among the stuff was:
– half a door-knob set.
– a camera lens for a camera thrown out years ago.
– a dozen plastic pocket calculators (corroded batteries) with the Gazette’s name, address and phone number (601 area code) imprinted on them.
– a box of computer cords that didn’t fit any of the computers we now have.
– three computer ZIP drives.
– a gadget for scanning photographs from 35mm slides (Remember those?).
– two non-working flash attachments for cameras.
– two old telephone answering machines.
– a large non-working time-clock.
– a check-writing machine, the kind that embossed the numbers into the check.
– 30 small keys in a plastic bag.
– stacks of commercial printing records and job applications from the 1990s.
– several small nails, wood screws and push pins.
– two dimes and two pennies.
So what is on the shelves now? Nothing.
Then I worried that when my boss walked through, he would wonder what I’ve been doing for the past two-and-a-half years.
Then there’s the even-bigger problem. When I told my wife what I’d accomplished last Friday, Jenny pointed out that her parents are coming for Christmas in two weeks, and that I had promised to clean out the garage.
Yep, I’ll get right on it.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at