I retired effective December 31 last. I finally got all my stuff out of my office and let Samantha have it last week. She has showed remarkable patience.
I haven't had the same office for 20 years, of course.
When we first moved to the Ranch September 9, 1991, the little single-wide mobile home we'd bought to move onto the property served as office, Horton homestead, and Down Home Ranch World Headquarters.
It only had two bedrooms--a small one and an eentsy-teensy one. We gave Kelly the small one, which also have a 3/4 bath in it, and we crammed our king sized bed into the eentsy-teensy one. There was about a foot's clearance on every side.
Since there was no room for office equipment, Jerry set about assembling a small room off the back door area. It was not a thing of beauty, and I named it "The Wart," because that's what it looked like from the outside, which Jerry was not especially happy about. That was my first office, complete with Macintosh computer and a file cabinet.
After four years the Ranch's office needs surpassed our need for a bedroom so we jettisoned the king sized bed and gave the bedroom to the Ranch.
This left us sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room.
After about three months, I rubbed my aching back one morning and said, "That's about enough of that," and let hubby know that we were moving. Didn't know where or how but it was going to happen. I looked in the Taylor Daily News and behold! There was an ad for a small farmhouse to be moved for $7,000 and we do the moving.
We looked at it and it was beautifully constructed. We bought ten acres from the Ranch and moved the house on it, added a bedroom, and made a home.
Now the Ranch could stretch its wings and occupy the whole mobile home. Jerry got his own office, I got mine, and Jackie, who did the books, got the living room. Then lightning hit the barn and the bolt ran through the telephone lines and blew up all our telephone connections, including the message machines and the computers attached to them.
But Jackie had backed up, so we were still in business.
Then we built the Garden Center and I had become Program Director so I got an office there. All my stuff came with me. When we built the Learning Center I moved into the front office there, and all my stuff came with me. When we built the big barn and I gave up being Program Director, I moved into the barn office, and all my stuff came with me.
So, it's a lot of stuff. I resolved to carefully sort through every box, properly disposing of, passing on, or storing every item before packing a new box. It was a great system.
It lasted through that first box.
Last week I faced the reality that Samantha would retire before I had time to sort through every single box that would be filled with the remains of my life at Down Home Ranch. So everything went into a bunch of boxes, which now occupy both our home office and my music room in Benedict House.
They join 19 generations' worth of family pictures and other treasures, so I'm bracing myself for a long stroll down memory lane. If we invite you for dinner and you come, know why those doors will remain shut.