Sweatin’ the Stuff

Wayne sounded articulate enough. Frankly I was surprised, since my erudite Texas friends were having a good time making aspersions on Arkansas culture and I didn’t expect the sales representative for Speedy Possum Moving and Storage in Holiday Island, Arkansas to be as professional as he sounded during my initial call.

He obviously worked from a check-list as he asked how many of what items we planned to move. His price quote for the move was even more astonishing, and based on the sound of his voice and a friend’s recommendation, we decided to quench the occasional notion that the price was too good to be true and made the appointment.

“We’ll be there first thing Tuesday morning,” he told us, “and probably start back to the Ozarks the same day.”

I reminded him that we had lots of boxes, tables, chairs, pictures and mirrors to be packed, and that I was concerned he’d bring enough truck for the job.

“Oh, we’ll bring plenty of truck,” he assured me.

Every year we drive our minivan thousands of miles, and my heart swells whenever I see a mammoth moving van rolling down one of this country’s great highways. There’s something grand and romantic and, well…American about it all.

I fancied our move to our new home in the Ozarks: a colossus of a truck, blue and white in my minds eye, rolling out of Plano on 75 Central Expressway.

Loaded to its vast capacity with all our priceless treasures, it would roll on past other, less shiny trucks and beat-up pick-ups, through Oklahoma, climbing grandly up and around narrow mountain curves, stopping finally, with a splendid hiss of air-brakes, at our house, impressing our new neighbors with what classy folks we are.

It was a fine dream.

Wayne’s “Bright and early Tuesday morning” turned out to be 1:30 in the afternoon. By then Himself and I, with Gail who was helping us for the day, were strung tighter than Texas fiddles, and when we saw Wayne’s “plenty of truck” it is safe to say we were not reassured.

Wayne’s helper, Larry, stepped down from the passenger side, looking for all the world as if he’d come down out of the hills just this morning, probably taking a day off from his regular job tending the family still. Skinny to the point of being frail, and hairy, he didn’t talk much. Wayne, who also wasn’t what I’d call husky, did the talking, after he hopped down from the driver’s side of his elderly yellow truck.

Hopped is the right word here, as he walked with a pronounced limp. I don’t fault him for his infirmity–I sometimes use a cane myself, but these people were here to move my piano!

Our moving van was not the gleaming road transport of my vision, either. Not the usual semi-trailer rig one usually expects, this two piece contraption more closely resembled the traveling style of my frontier ancestors. Speedy Possum mover’s equipment was a reasonably large closed truck of indeterminate vintage, towing a trailer or, one might say, a covered wagon, with ropes holding down the canvas top.

Throbbing blood vessels in the temples of the one I’d promised to love, honor and move anywhere with constrained me from running howling down Legacy Drive.

Gail, incredulous, loudly announced “there’s no way those guys are ever going to get the job done.”

She got into her old Ford Galaxy with Himself and drove to East Plano where she negotiated in fervent Spanish to hire two young, strong men who knew something about moving. Without them we might still be there.

It was a long afternoon. The two young men did whatever Gail told them to do, which included taking to the trash bin some of the old furniture and junk we shouldn’t have been keeping anyway.

As box after box was loaded, and I considered the old, worn and useless stuff we were going to have to unpack at our destination, I conceived a new fantasy: Wayne and Larry could accidentally drive Old Yellar and the Covered Wagon into the Red River, we’d collect the insurance, and buy all new things when we needed them.

They finished loading at 10:00 p.m. and headed back north. Himself passed the brave little convoy in Durant, Oklahoma at 7:30 the next morning.

By Wednesday night Speedy Possum Movers had us unloaded and began packing another household here on the Island.

We saved a significant amount of money, nothing was broken, and nothing was lost but a whole lot of anguish we could have spared ourselves if we’d simply remembered where we were moving, and that we are retired now.

We probably won’t need to hurry again until the next time we’re in Dallas.

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2 thoughts on “Sweatin’ the Stuff

  1. All I could think of while reading this was the Bob Newhart Show with brothers Larry, and Daryl, and Daryl. I know they were supposed to be in Vermont, but they could have easily been Ozark transplants. Thank you for the laughs.

  2. Thank you for the smile. The part about uselss stuff hit close to home. We’ve been here 25 years and have accumulated lots of stuff. Even though we have a through out every few years when somone needs a place to stay, it seems like we manage to fill up again after they leave. Just what does one do with clothes that are too good to give away…I might wear that again. I just seem to move then from closet to closet depending on the season. I guess it’s time for a serious clean out. One of these days the Lord will move us on and I will need to travel with a lighter load.

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