By Brad and Deneice Rice
We are busy people. Throughout our careers we both epitomized the old saying, “If you want a job done, give it to a busy person.” In retirement our busy-ness has continued in the manner of seeing grandchildren, traveling the country and the world, volunteering for organizations and commissions, working on rental properties, scouring antique shops for our dolphin and hourglass collections, going out with friends (especially for live country music) and, for Brad, continuing to play historian. But what do busy people do when they can’t hug the local grandkids or go visit the ones in Texas? What do they do when international quarantine regulations cancel a big trip? What do they do when the meetings stop (or Zoom by)? What do they do when the bands stop playing and the restaurants and bars stop serving? What do they do when the antique malls are shuttered? They find ways to stay BUSY.
The downside of the aphorism about busy people getting the job done is, of course, that the realities of time can sometimes mean that the job doesn’t actually get done – especially if it is something easy to put off around one’s own home. Even busy people suffer from procrastination. For us, the silver lining of the otherwise sad and tragic pandemic period has been that some of those procrastinated projects have finally found their way to the proverbial front burner.
When we moved into our present house in July of 2014, we rented a storage unit across from Ingles to hold some less urgent things until we got settled. Nothing that we locked behind that overhead door was valuable to anyone but us and our families – photos, keepsakes, Christmas decorations, and the like. We’ve been friends for 65 years. We first met in the second grade in Edmond, Oklahoma, but we didn’t become Mister and Missus for another five-plus decades. Life happened, joy happened, sadness happened, twists and turns happened, retirement happened, and marriage happened. So here we are, all settled down in Madison since 2011. That means that we had a LOT of memories to blend.
We had a plan for what to do about the storage unit; it was a simple plan. As soon as it turned cooler in the fall (the fall of 2014 mind you), we would find the time to cull and sort what we wanted to keep for ourselves and to determine what we would distribute to kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews. You can guess the rest of the story. Instead of spending a few hundred dollars of rent for a few months of storage, we spent a few thousand dollars for a few years of storage. Remember, not a darn thing in that 10’ x 20’ space was worth a dime to anyone not related to us. Enter COVID-19.
The two busy Rices finally found the time to tackle the storage unit after five and a half years of procrastination. We hooked up the utility trailer to Brad’s Silverado and headed up 441 to the dump with the detritus that was clearly junk. The rest came home in cardboard boxes and plastic bins to our garage and dining room. It was our stuff, and it needed loving attention. (You know what George Carlin said: “If it’s mine, it’s stuff. If it’s yours, it’s crap.”) But at least the storage unit was finally empty. Plainview could give us our deposit and we could quit giving them $75 a month. We’re not done with the sorting, culling, and organizing yet, but we are making steady progress.
Of course, that’s not all that we’ve done to stay busy the past two months. Brad has grown a full beard and made good progress on his Joshua Hill research project; Deneice and the board have kept the Landmarks Society moving forward; we’ve cleaned and repaired a rent house for a new tenant; we built a trellis so that Madison jasmine can shade our patio, and just last week we watched grandson David graduate in that special One Morgan way.
But did we mention that OUR STORAGE UNIT IS FINALLY EMPTY ?
Brad is a retired professor and administrator from Clayton State University in south metro Atlanta; Deneice is a retired curriculum and public relations administrator from Metro Technology Center in Oklahoma City.