Thursday, April 30, 2015


Sunday I was reminded there is still buried treasure to discover. Friendship, the church I attend is having a garage sale and was accepting donations of various items. It’s a strange concept to consider: voluntarily give away something that you had purchased, transported, stored and treasured. Sometimes those are things that we have outgrown, or grown past. We may no longer have a use for them or want them.

My wife, Rhonda, and I are trying to not pass our clutter on to our children – it’s best to part with it now so they don’t have to. So last weekend we went on an archeological expedition and uncovered some old furniture in the granary. The old farm buildings are both a blessing and a curse. We have the room to store stuff, but we store stuff because we have the room.

We had a pretty good idea what was hidden in the building, but until we took the tarp off we were just guessing. There was an end table, some stools, a couple of tables and several chairs we had either bought or had accepted as hand–me–downs. At one time, I had big plans to refinish most of them.

For awhile, I busied myself with the unhappy task of stripping and sanding old furniture for imagined pleasure and utilitarian benefit. At first, it seemed like a hobby I might enjoy with the added result of having something to show for my efforts. It took me a while to learn otherwise.

Several years ago I had refinished a few pieces. One was an old kitchen table with several leaves that I picked up from my days as a garbage man in Minneapolis. It seemed a shame to throw it out; you can see the table in the Mary Poppins’ movie – well maybe not the actual table, but it looks exactly the same.

The problem with a little success, it can lead to excess. Soon I was acquiring pieces with the intention of refinishing them. One was a grouping of theater seats from the old Chaska Rex theater. I bought them one Sunday in the fall at a church sale (that should have been a warning) and brought them home and put them in my barn. Twenty years ago I sold that barn (along with the house and land) and moved the theater seats to the granary at our present home. 

While the theater seats sat empty waiting for the show to start I lost interest and walked out and left them there. After a while one must face reality and admit that time has not stood still. In everyone’s life there are unfinished plans and unrealized dreams. Leaving furniture under a tarp for a decade or two is no sin, but leaving your talents buried might be.

Les Brown, a motivational speaker once said, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”

Following in my father’s footsteps and becoming an insurance agent was never a dream of mine, even when I started on May 1st, 1985, but I had to do something for work and that something has allowed me to realize other dreams. This wasn’t always apparent though, I often found myself searching for something else. Yet, with thirty years of memories and experiences, I now realize the treasure that life offers was never buried; I just had to open my eyes.



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