Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hey, whattaya wanna give for it?...


            My Uncle Hobart loved to go to auctions, and he brought home a lot of bargains when he attended one. His wife, my Aunt Eullillian, didn’t share his enthusiasm about auctions or the resulting bargains, but she tolerated his collections and commented whenever he brought a new treasure home, “Well, it will go good at the big sale.” The “big sale” she was referring to is the one our children hold to dispense of our extra, uh, stuff after we pass on.

            There’s not much to deny that I come from the same bloodline as Uncle Hobart. I don’t attend a lot of auctions, but I make up for it by saving a lot of, uh, stuff. There is a pull-down stairway to the attic of the shop, and for the last 30 years I’ve been putting the stuff I’ve saved for the last 60 years up there.

            But a little while back, it became apparent that I needed to rearrange some of the stuff in the attic so I would have room to save more stuff. That doesn’t sound like a daunting task, but it probably takes longer than it should because I can’t move a box without opening it and examining the contents. Old newspapers seem to take the most time, because I not only have to read the article that made the paper save-worthy, but I also have to check out the advertisements, and be reminded that at one-time in the not so distant past I could buy a new Chevy Impala for $2800.00, or a gently used one for $695.00. Or 4 loaves of bread for 98 cents. Or striped bell-bottom jeans at all.

            Sometimes I find a treasure that belongs to someone else. I’m not sure what it was doing in my attic, but I came across a life-sized stand-up cardboard likeness of James Dean. Apparently it was our daughter’s, and she thought it was lost. It wasn’t. It was simply in the attic. Like the pictures and homework from Millville Grade School, and the bottle from the Norton Brewing Company in Anderson, and the box of incense from Ayr-Way. It wasn’t lost, but simply filed away and forgotten for a while.

            It’s kind of like when we talk about our lost rights or lost freedoms. They’re not really lost. More like displaced, and sometimes forgotten. We’ve turned a lot of decisions over to the government, and things we used to take for granted and do naturally, now require permission, permits and a license from that government.

            I have a couple of friends who are getting married later this summer, but not before they trudge down to the courthouse and pay the lady $18.00 for a license to do so. I guess that’s better than the $60.00 it would cost them if they lived in another state and wanted to get married here, but I have to wonder why they need a license to get married in the first place. Probably because of some of the insurance, retirement, and other previously personal decisions we have turned over to the government over the years.

            We still have the right to get married without asking the government, just like we still have the right to live our lives in any way we choose, as long as we don’t violate someone else’s rights.

            While the government might be preventing us from exercising our rights and freedoms, those rights still exist for all of us. We just need to reclaim them, and we don’t even have to climb up to attic to do it.

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