Packing brings up all kinds of conflicts. How much do I really have to have for the rest of my life? How little can I live with? What am I keeping out of affection, and what out of obligation, and what will I miss if I put it in the recycling, the garbage, or give away to a good home? One of my passions in life is cooking and over the years I've built up quite a stash of dishes, bowls, cups, glasses, gadgets, implements, appliances, and just plain junk that relates to food preparation and entertaining. Such items tend to take on a sentimental value that is not easy to explain.
I got rid of tons of this stuff when I relocated from Alabama to New Jersey in the fall of 2007. I had yard sales, sold my car to friends, gave clothes to Goodwill, pared down to the bone and still had two pods to be unloaded into an apartment half the size of my house. Then I moved again in Hoboken, to a smaller apartment, and packed every inch with cartons of clothes and kitchen stuff.
The time has come to prepare for another move. I've getting ready for the closing on a condo down on Madison Street (da ole downtown, as it's known in Hoboken). I'll miss the gentle elegance of the shabby row houses cheek by jowl with groomed brownstones, the yuppie bars on every corner neighboring with a pizza place that's been there over 40 years. Certain delis and watering holes will notice my less frequent visits. But, hell, I'll only be a few blocks away, even though in some ways it feels like another town, almost.
In getting ready (fixin' to start, we say in the South), I am again looking one by one at every object I own and deciding to discard what I'm sure I'll never miss. In one of my heavy boxes of kitchen items I came across the meat grinder pictured above. It's a nice old thing that I know I've had for at least 35 years. I never used it much and I said to myself, "When was the last time you actually used that?" I knew right away, I bought it for a recipe for parties, grinding together raw bacon and cheddar cheese to spread on bread and toast for a delicious, cholesterol-laden appetizer. And when was the last time I served such a heart-stopper to guests? I think it was 1981, when I was living in Geneva and giving a lot of greasy parties. When I had that lightning bolt I realized I'd never serve that particular dish again and kill my friends.
So I picked up the meat grinder to carry it to the curb. I couldn't see putting it in a garbage can. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but lo and behold, there was a gate sale at the building next door. I waved the meat grinder at them and the young lady sitting on her stoop said "I want that!"
She and the man with her, who was helping with the sale, argued about who would buy it. I'm not clear who prevailed but I came away with $5 for it. She's planning another sale in the future, and I'm going to put some stuff out of it--very nice, good shape, just too much for my new life. It may be next weekend. If you're in the neighborhood, you may just find something you want. And I'll be there to say hello as well. I'll post details here if and when it happens. Goodbye to the old and hello to the new!