#039;That#039;s life. What can I tell you?#039;

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

I spent a great deal of time last week going through old things of mine and deciding what needed to stay and what needed to stay in place.

It's amazing at the amount of junk you can accumulate in a lifetime.

I kept thinking of the recent production of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof I went to see at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the scene where Brick told Big Daddy that he had bought a million dollars worth of junk, but none of it bought him love.

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It is a very powerful scene.

Anyway, back to my organizational day.

I found old research papers with notations made by Barbara Kelley at LBW College from 1991, as well as my very first research paper that I wrote for Burke "Sweetie" McFerrin.

I read through them and laughed at some of the errors a young man makes when he is in a hurry.

I found grade reports from various quarters and acceptance letters from Auburn, Alabama and believe it or not, Ole Miss.

Funny how we choose a different path than we first began.

Call it walking on a broken road.

I found gobs of birthday cards sent to me over the years, as well as congratulations cards for high school and college graduations.

Then there were old ticket stubs such as the Elton John concerts I attended in Albany and Macon, Ga.

Also, I found stubs to a few Braves games.

I always wanted to take my grandmother to see a live game.

She keeps track of those boys of summer like no sports writer ever could.

I found a ticket stub to the Titanic exhibit held in Memphis in 1997 as well as my ticket stub to Graceland.

I couldn't very well visit Memphis and not go to the king's home.

It was a life time pile of personal memories that make up who I am.

They are personal effects that told the story of a man who enjoyed doing new things with various people.

I began keeping a journal when I lived in Troy and I found it. I read in my own "serial killer" handwriting the hopes, dreams and fears of someone who still had no clear direction in life.

Needless to say some of the words haunt me.

Then there are the newspaper clippings.

I'm not the type that keeps clippings of everything I write.

But I do clip other things and file them away with the idea that they make life more bearable.

There was a letter I found that I wrote my mom on a cold, lonely January day in 2000.

I don't know why I never mailed it to her. I opened it and read the words again.

It brought back some memories that I had buried deep inside and once I reopened them, they left me forever.

For I realized these were words that were now in vain. I wished I had sent the letter.

Hindsight you know.

I'm not blaming anyone but myself, because I know that at the time I was doing the best I could.

So I bagged up some of the stuff and trucked it to the trash.

I stood there for a moment with the bags by my side.

I reached in and pulled out the letter and put it in my pocket.

I thought to myself as I walked away that it's hard to say goodbye to things you hold of value.

But then I thought, "Well that's life and sometimes you want to let it all go."

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate.

He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.

Regular mail is P.O. Box 507, Greenville, AL 36037.