No matter what my wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, has told you, I am not a hoarder.

There are undiscriminating people who save everything. I am not one of them. Although every time I haul a load of trash to our world-class dump, I often come home with several items that add value to our estate.

If you will walk through my barn with me, I can and will justify every item, outside of the bat droppings on my car cover. OK – and a practically new lift chair that you can have for the asking.

Ray, a recent B&B guest, walked through this very same barn the other day and said, “You have the makings of a great lawn sale.”

Any man who walks into another man’s barn can say the same thing. I could just as easily throw away my neighbor’s golf clubs as he could my 17 seven-eighth sockets for half-inch drive. The only man who can see something in a barn that could be sold at a lawn sale is the man who doesn’t own it and therefore has different goals in life.

There is actually nothing in my barn I could sell at a lawn sale. Why would a reasonable man keep anything in his barn that he does not need or plan to use in the immediate or distant future? Every time I have ever given something away or thrown it out, I have needed it within the next week.

You cannot count the number of times this has happened to you, so you know how it works: Whenever you throw away something that has cluttered up your home or barn for years, you are sure to kick yourself before the moon changes.

And while we are discussing regret, consider the three new storm doors that you passed over at the dump, only to realize a day later that the wood in them could have been used to make frames for inside plastic window coverings.

You have heard me say that my wife would throw away the letters that her great-grandfather wrote home the day he was holding Grant’s horse at Appomattox.

On the other hand, there are the people like one of my Watts relatives, who has many letters that were written by her ancestors during the Civil War.

These letters are first-hand accounts of political and social conditions in our town, when 70 or 80 percent of St. George men were either in the Army or skippering a vessel. It is interesting to read in a 150-year-old letter, written by my great-grandfather’s cousin, that Lincoln was a “Pumpkinhead,” and that one writer’s young son was glad when Lincoln died.

So how old do letters or diaries have to be before they are more interesting to a historian than to a blackmailer? When does a packrat with filing cabinets full of paper morph into your library’s guardian of Special Collections?

Wanting to share some of your accumulated wealth with others, you might like to donate some of your books to the local library. But you know that every time management changes, the shelves are cleaned out to reflect another way of thinking and your valuable Buck’s Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages will probably end up in a Dumpster.

My friend The Boy, who overflowed his barn with classic Corvettes and hot rods, bought a huge warehouse to store his toys. Because not everyone can do this, hundreds of storage buildings have suddenly appeared in Maine, much like ticks.

There are television programs that show the locks being cut off abandoned lockers in these storage buildings. People bid on the contents, hoping that some incarcerated or assassinated drug dealer has stashed a suitcase full of cash there.

Every time you drive down some nearby back road, you will see that a clearing has been chopped in the woods and in the middle of it is a new storage facility.

Are these off-site storage sheds in backwoods Maine stuffed with old tennis rackets and Gucci shoes? Are affluent Americans smothering themselves with things that they don’t need?

Or have our inequitable tax system and the efficient depredations of an oligarchy cost many of our neighbors first their jobs and then their homes? Have they moved in with Mother or a sibling? Are they now renting a tiny trailer not large enough to accommodate Grandfather’s three rockers?

Not being able to answer these questions on my own, I asked my venerable next-door neighbor, Gramp Wiley: “Why all these storage lockers?”

Gramp said, “To preserve the dumps.”

The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland and visited at his website:

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