Moving is no fun, so we’ll just stayWhen we arrived early last Saturday, our friends were eating cereal. The scene around them was one of organized chaos. Boxes of kitchen utensils. Boxes of cookbooks. Boxes of light bulbs and spices and knick-knacks.
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
When we arrived early last Saturday, our friends were eating cereal. The scene around them was one of organized chaos. Boxes of kitchen utensils. Boxes of cookbooks. Boxes of light bulbs and spices and knick-knacks.
By 3 p.m., their 26-foot U-Haul would be headed down the road for a new home eight hours away. Phyllis and I had come to pack or tote or label or tie or do whatever else was required. We have moved plenty. We know what it means to have help.
Moving is ugly. There’s no other way to put it. It’s hard enough, taking apart a life in one place and re-rooting someplace else. Moving comes with a flood of emotions: You take something down from your child’s wall, and you find yourself getting all misty about the life you’re leaving behind. But you have to stuff your emotions in a cardboard box with all the other manifestations of your past life. You’ve got a truck to fill. No time for sentimentality.
Moving is hard. It’s bending and lifting and carrying and — hey, watch that corner — and trying to keep things organized and not scratch the dining room chairs. You’ve got the inside people and the outside people and the truck packers and the go-fers. Need rope? Someone runs to the hardware store.
The only solace I took that day was that Phyllis and I were going home after three hours. We weren’t the ones who had to finally slam shut the U-Haul’s overhead door and grind across the upper Midwest into the night. But we’ve been there.
In one stretch, we moved 10 times in 11 years, across the country and across town. I watched the Colorado Rockies come into view from the driver’s seat of a U-Haul on a hot August day, looking through the panting jaws of our black Irish setter, Dave. When we moved from Colorado to Duluth, it was 4 below when we loaded the truck, 10 below on our overnight stop in Kansas and 20 below when we arrived in Duluth. We had all of our house plants in the Corolla, and we never shut it off. It seemed important at the time.
In Ely, we moved six times in two and a half years, renting here and there. We lived light in those days. We’d borrow a friend’s pickup, throw in all of our boxes and be off. Dave got a little paranoid about our Bedouin lifestyle. Every time we came out of a house to put another box in the pickup, he was already up in the pickup bed. He was afraid we’d leave him behind.
Moving is unpredictable. On one cross-town move in Duluth, I had rented a truck, but the morning of the move, no truck was available. The U-Haul guy just shrugged. So, one of our friends wrangled a snowmobile trailer, and another had a Suburban, and someone else had a pickup. We made it work.
After helping our friends last Saturday, I came home and looked around our place, where we’ve lived for 24 years now. I tried to imagine packing up our accumulated possessions and came to a realization.
We’re going to die there.
Sam Cook is a Duluth News Tribune columnist and outdoors writer. Reach him at (218) 723-5332 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/samcookoutdoors