Opinion Columns & Blogs

HARMON: Good riddance — not exactly

Well, they’re gone. They left about a week ago. Took what they needed to survive, I suppose, and left a house full of nonessential items as a reminder of six wonderful years. Life here will go on because they only moved across the woods to a house we can almost see from ours. It’s not as though they moved to Gray or Lizella, an eternity away.

My daughter, the man she married, an 18-month-old boy we miss (whose pictures are all over the place), a dog and hopefully a cat all moved out. The cat has yet to decide where he wants to live because we still put food in the bowl and if you’re a cat, that’s about all that counts.

He has a girlfriend who lives somewhere around here but he’s been fixed so that relationship should be over when she discovers he’s all purr and no “purrformance.” I think she’s already aware that food comes before “fun” where’s he’s concerned. I don’t feed her, having learned 35 years ago that once you start feeding a female they want to stay and be in charge of everything. If that sounds sexist it probably is, but I have hysterical data I’ve been saving to back it up. Historical stuff, too.

The two dogs that were left, Hannah and Hercules, basically ignore the cat unless he’s on the outside of the glass door. Then, for some strange reason, they don’t recognize him and all hell breaks loose. When I open the door, the cat, whose name is Milo, saunters in with a look that says, “You people need to get a grip.” A couple of quick slaps and you can hear a pin drop. The sad thing is neither dog seems to realize who hit them. Cats are quick. I think the dogs are a lot like me. They just need to feel as though they’re in charge. A good slap takes the pressure off and they sleep better knowing someone else runs the house.

About now you’re probably wondering what nonessential items were left when they walked out on us. There are a lot of hair products, many of which I find offensive and have no use for because they are reminders of a time long ago when shampoo and conditioner was essential. You haven’t lived until you’ve scrubbed your head with a bar of soap and a loofah.

There are pictures of old trains all over the house and I’ve never been much of a train person. I did know an electric train person once, Bryce something or other, who had several sets in his basement. When he wasn’t bowling or eating he was working the model trains. I heard his health failed him a few years ago.

Then there are these things I call hemorrhoid bullets. They look like the bullets used to kill vampires and the ones used exclusively by the Lone Ranger, who never meant to kill anyone. They come in an attractive silver-coated covering and probably do some serious damage when inserted in the right place. These I might place on the essential items list.

I suppose the most nonessential item would be Q-tips. They have been multiplying for years and now that the house is emptier, I find them everywhere. If you’re not supposed to put anything any smaller than your elbow in your ear, please tell me what I’m supposed to do with a Q-tip that can’t be done with a cotton ball? They’re too short to be used for stirring anything or as a pointer. They’re only good for one round and saving them is out of the question. They bend under the slightest pressure which renders them useless for pricking, prodding or poking and they can’t be recycled. I could go on but you get the point.

And sometimes of late, whenever I pass in front of a bathroom mirror, I catch a glimpse of a complaining, gaseous old codger with a loofah in one hand and a bar of soap in the other who has to be pricked, prodded and poked to get him off the couch. Can you say “nonessential”?


Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.