Downsizing is hard! At first, it feels like tearing off an arm. Then it’s just like ripping off a fingernail. Finally, a slight sense of well-being creeps in and now that it is firmly situated, I’m able to re-home things like a pro.
After many trips across town to the various thrift organizations and Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, I wondered if and how I could just give things I have lived with and loved and used (and maybe cursed – like shovels and rakes and unwieldy garden hoses) to the people I have lived among - and loved - these last 21 years in Flagstaff.
My solution was to invite them all to a Lagniappe Party. Patterned after northwestern Native American traditions, with a twist, the idea was to have them come to a “do” in my garage, visit with all my friends and neighbors and with each other and importantly, take stuff away with them. The twist is that the Native Americans have a least a touch of pride and ego involved in their fêtes, showing off how wealthy they are that they have goods to give away. No such notion here.
It took weeks to get everything that needed re-homing into the garage and then it took 4 dear friends who came and worked 20 hours+ to arrange it all. But the party happened and people came! And “stuff” started flying out the door. Some were apologetic at first, “Can I really take this”? But soon the spirit prevailed. A new friend whose house burned to the ground last year in the Tunnel Fire on the San Francisco Peaks, was the first recipient. Boy! Did that feel right! She needed a lot of what I needed to dispense; down comforter, flowerpots, galvanized trash can to put her horse feed in, table made by Folsom prisoners way back when, good stuff to a good person who needed it.
Another wonderful gardener took a cut crystal vase that I inherited from my Auntie Bea (I’m her namesake!) and immediately filled it with blossoms from her yard. It is so much better than I could ever have done and she promises to send me photos regularly. She took shepherd’s crooks to feed hummingbirds, too – shared love of beauty and living creatures.
The day was a little grueling, but at the end, so many things sped off to be loved by people I have loved and I feel like I have 2 arms again.
And the best part is, I will soon be in my new home at Washington Commons, with just what I need and with friends to share a meal, go on walks, and even to learn a few things about how to live together. A darn big success, I must say!