A week spent packing up his in-laws' belongings and preparing their home of over four decades for sale stirred up a little dust and a lot of memories for the Colonel -- both of which made his eyes water more than just a little.
The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, her twin sister -- the beautiful and brash Miss Linda, and their mother -- the wise and courageous Miss Martha, lovingly and tearfully boxed up clothing and treasures representing six decades of the Jack and Martha Cannon Show.
As far as he is concerned that show was a hit, deserving of recognition and praise far beyond the capability of the Colonel's feeble phraseology. So, he'll dispense with any further attempt at laudatory language.
Suffice to say, last week was hard, both physically and emotionally.
Two -- count 'em, two -- 26 foot U-haul trucks were rented and packed to the gills; one headed for Texas and the other to the Colonel's vast holdings here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere. Per the Colonel's direction, every box had either "TX" or "MS" marked on it and every piece of furniture had a similarly marked strip of tape. As helpers carried a box or piece of furniture out of the house, the Colonel and his brother-law ensured each went on the right truck.
With more than a score of personal household moves under his belt, the Colonel has more than a little practice at packing boxes and packing trucks. There are two cardinal rules to follow.
1. Heavy stuff goes in little boxes.
2. Boxes are loaded on the truck first -- floor to ceiling.
Failure to faithfully follow the foregoing fails the faithful fellows filing in and out filling the truck.
Packing a truck is a lot like working a giant, three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle -- once the boxes are loaded, all the stuff that didn't go in a box is stacked and packed in place, in layers, front to back and floor to ceiling. Toward the end of this operation it is handy to have a fearless pre-teen to climb up on the pile and fill nooks and crannies with stuff.
If you don't have a fearless pre-teen handy, a crotchety little Marine colonel with a fully-checked bucket list will do.
At the end of the week, late in the night the day before the planned departure for the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere, the Colonel and his bride stood at the back of the truck marvelling at the job the Colonel had done packing one half of his in-laws' worldly possessions on a truck half as big as needed.
"Good grief, Knucklehead, is that a refrigerator up there on top?"
"Why, yes. Yes it is."
"How did you get it up there?"
"Not real sure. The shooting pains in the Colonel's back are clouding his memory somewhat."
"How in the world are we going to get all of this unloaded back home?"
"The Colonel has been thinking about that all week, and he thinks he has a plan."
"Does your plan involve high speed in reverse and slamming on the brakes?"
"Um, yeah. How did you know?"
"Knucklehead, this isn't my first move with you."
The Colonel is happy to report that no refrigerators or grandfather clocks were harmed in the making of this move.