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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

'Tis the Season

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Country Notebook by Rogene "Jeanne" McPherson

Perhaps readers have noticed. The bi-weekly columns I write for the Journal have been sparse this summer. Last year I jokingly wrote about catching the dog days of summer syndrome. Apparently I did once again as my motivation for writing or doing almost anything has been nearly non-existent. Too hot to be outside, I should have been motivated to work inside. Not so.

Finally after a couple of weeks contemplating alternatives, I challenged myself to clean my home office and I’m not talking about the type when a dust cloth and vacuum are involved. That activity will come later after the organizational phase of this project is completed.

Paper, especially junk mail, has become a public enemy. And, even worse is the paper from the past. Things, like notes taken from events I’ve attended, old letters, interesting newspaper and magazine stories I intend to read, and receipts to be filed, were taking up space on, below, and in-between my desk making it a challenge to even find my laptop.

There are professionals that can help with de-cluttering one’s space, but I knew I could do this on my own based upon my experience during COVID. I used the stay-at-home time to collect and box items I no longer needed so that when restrictions were lifted, I could make multiple trips to thrift stores or the compactor. This was different, however. Some of the “clutter” involved cherished memories.

The experts will tell you to handle paper only once. Obviously, their expertise was not applicable when the items were of no value to anyone other than me. Truth be told, I had probably handled some of these keepsakes 20 times or more. But, this time I would be different. I developed a strategy. I made labels for files and in my stronger moments recycled or trashed one-third or more of what was taking up too much space. Some memorabilia was placed in a box and labeled, “No Need to Look At or Keep – Only Mom’s Memories” making my kids’ job easier after I’m six feet under. It was amazing how liberating that decision was for me especially when I asked myself, “What would my kids do with this?”

By now, readers have likely realized that my laptop was unearthed and I’ve run out of excuses. This is not the best story I’ve written and not even in the top 10, but there is hope. As for much in life, just getting started is half the battle. With September on its way and hopefully cooler weather, perhaps I can muster up enough energy to scrape the loose paint off my outdoor patio set and repaint. Or pull more weeds. Or plant grass seed. Or wash windows. Or celebrate a clean desk.

Obviously, summer is not my favorite season and logically so as the heat is supposedly dangerous for the elderly, providing a good excuse for me to stay indoors. If we’re in a season of life that allows flexibility, ’Tis the Season to do what calls us. Maybe it’s to take an afternoon nap while the sun bares down or read a good book and not feel guilty. Or eat ice cream and feel guilty, but do it anyway.

Many people like fall for its beautiful colors, football, and the feeling of accomplishment a good harvest brings. I am one of them. It’s on the backdoor of summer. Hold on, and a new season will be here soon.

Rogene “Jeanne” McPherson, from the Centerville area, is a regular contributor to the Linn County Journal. She recently published a book about her experiences entitled Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living. It is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.

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