The Playhouse

The significance of packing and moving the last item from our home of thirty-eight years was more than substantial, but that wasn’t my struggle today. It was what to keep and what to throw away as I sorted through the “archives” of our lives.
My discipline had earned high marks in sorting through furniture and clothes. Downsizing was my continual goal and taskmaster, but today’s final emptying moved me into closets with albums of baby pictures, scrapbooks and boxes spilling over with memories.
While Othel left to run an errand, I pulled a large oblong box from a top closet shelf. There were letters from my grandmother written to me during college – more letters from my mother writing me to keep me informed of family news after Othel and I moved to Florida. I paused over the pages – realizing her written words were the closest I could get to her for now. There were yellowed clippings of family members’ obituaries and birth announcements that Mother had saved for me.
A folder of old prints rested near the bottom of the box. One was a black and white picture of my daddy’s baseball team from New Albany. He sat on the front row with a victory smile in his sweaty uniform that showed he manned the catcher’s position. I wondered how I could describe his athletic abilities, his strong arms and kind heart to Baby James. The picture wouldn’t mean anything to him, but I’d want him to know about the man whose name he shared.
I slid the cover over the box and held it for a moment. I’d wait – ponder what I should do with its contents that covered more than two generations of memorabilia. I couldn’t make a decision at that moment.
One of the scrapbooks caught my attention next. Beta club and recital programs were still glued to the pages along with postcards and birthday cards from family. I laughed out loud when I came to the page with a three inch section of a real squirrel tail. It was labeled as my first hunting trophy with my brother. There were pictures of classmates already deceased and graded English papers that I wanted to remember.
Mother had kept the scrapbook for me and returned it when we built our house. It had waited undisturbed all those years – hidden under a stack of yearbooks. I struggled to find a legitimate reason for keeping it. It could only take up needed space, but Nostalgia was still trying to nose his way into the decision.
I pushed aside the flood of emotions and stepped outside for a breather. I dropped down on the deck steps and was about to begin a dialogue with God over my dilemma of keeping and tossing. But God spoke first – through His creation. In the quiet, September afternoon I realized it wasn’t quiet. A serenade was filling the air; birds were singing all around me. God reminded me how he cares for them, and they never sow or reap. They don’t own anything and wear only the “feathers on their back.”
I quickly returned to my task with a clearer focus of downsizing.
Camille Anding