Report from Louisiana: Downsizing

By:  Pat Austin   

SHREVEPORT – With my retirement in a couple of months drawing ever closer, and as crime and violence in Shreveport becomes ever more prevalent, we have been giving more and more serious thought to pulling up and moving out of this hellhole  town, and moving to the small community in south Louisiana where we visit five times a year.

No place is perfect, I know this, but some places are more perfect than others.

But this moving thing? It isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have lived in this house since 1978 and my grandparents lived here before me. My mother grew up in this house. It’s not a fine, family home passed down from generation to generation – it’s a comfortable, two-bedroom house in an aging neighborhood.

The problem is that I look around me and I wonder, what am I going to do with ALL THIS STUFF?!  My goodness but I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.  And I often tell my husband that he is just one paperclip away from being a hoarder.

I want to downsize.

There are days when I look around and think, “Why on earth am I keeping this?” and throw it, whatever it is, into the trashcan. There are other days when I want to list everything I own for sale online. I could pay off a couple of credit cards with the proceeds, I am certain.

I went through a Depression glass phase a few years ago and now I have three china cabinets filled with the stuff. Ok, it’s pretty, but why do I need six lime green salad plates? Or three clear pink coffee cups? An assortment of cut crystal bowls. Vases, pitchers, salt and pepper shakers, and toothpick holders. I have probably fifty of those tiny, individual salt bowls. Several of those have tiny sterling silver spoons with them.

Why do I need to keep all this stuff?!  My children will not want this after I am gone. Of this, I am certain.

I have some 200 DVDs.  In this age of streaming video, why do I still have these? And let’s please not even open the discussion on books. I am literally drowning in books and I can say in all honesty that I do purge these once or twice a year and donate them to the university book bazaar fundraiser. I still have enough books to fill a U-Haul.

Once I actually retire, I will purge a lot of clothes from my closet, but t-shirts, man, I have a lot of those. Way too many.

Dishes. I have several complete sets of dishes – at least two are antiques, wedding china from both sets of grandparents. My mom’s sterling silver flatware. Kitchen Kitsch – vintage canisters, jadeite, vintage ice cream scoops, enamelware bowls of all sizes, and an assortment of drip coffeepots. Now, the coffeepots I can use – when the power is out, a good old-fashioned drip coffeepot can replace the Keurig or the Mr. Coffee in a heartbeat and taste much better. But do I need six of them?!

Old electronics that I don’t know what to do with. We have at least six old computers around here.

This is getting embarrassing now that I’m writing this.

And sweet goodness I haven’t even gone to the garage yet, but that’s easier because most things in there can go straight to the trash. That’s sort of a wasteland before the final commitment to throw away. An old twin mattress, a wooden rocking chair nobody had room for, now covered in mold. Countless boxes of Mardi Gras beads. A couple of discarded weedeaters.  A broken table someone thought we might fix but never did. Lawn chairs. A non-working window air conditioner unit.

In a way, I envy people that move often because I am certain they don’t accumulate junk like all this. I look around and some of the things I really treasure and have a sentimental attachment too, but others, not so much. I tried reading that Marie Kondo book once about throwing out things that don’t “spark joy,” but the thought of picking up each item in my house and deliberating on whether or not it sparked joy seemed like such a massive undertaking I just couldn’t do it.

I do think it is time to start asking myself some hard questions about what I need to keep in my life and what needs to find a new home, or the trash bin. And it would be pretty cool if I could sell off some of these things that might have value to someone else now that I’ve enjoyed them for a while. And perhaps if I can downsize significantly, I can actually see my way clear to sell my house and move away to a place where people don’t get shot every single day and where you don’t hear gunfire when sitting inside your own home at night. The lawlessness here is really prompting some serious thoughts of change.

But before I rent the moving truck, I have to go throw out my collection of Southern Living magazines, the tarnished brass candlesticks that have been stuck in a drawer for two decades, the size three jeans that I will never fit into again, the wooden fish I bought at Pier I twenty years ago because I wanted to live at the beach, the Rolling Rock salt and pepper shakers with missing caps, a couple of broken tv trays, and a beat up Easter egg tree with missing ornaments.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Life Imitates Python, Scripture, the Godfather and Sir Humphrey Monday of Holy Week Thoughts Under the Fedora

More and more the world in general and the left in particular seem to be imitating Monty Python to wit when I heard are secretary of state said this concerning the Wuhan virus:

Secretary of State Tony Blinken was hesitant to say whether the Biden administration plans to take steps to hold China accountable for what he once called a lack of transparency over how the country handled the pandemic early on.

Blinken, who previously said China’s alleged hiding of the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan was a “profound problem,” was pushed on Sunday by CNN’s Dana Bash on whether he believes Beijing should be punished.

Blinken did not give a direct answer and instead said U.S. officials should work to prevent future pandemics and strengthen its relationship with the World Health Organization.

All I could think of was this exchange from the classic comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Sir Lancelot: Sorry. Sorry. You see what I mean? I just get carried away. I’m really most awfully sorry. Sorry! Sorry, everyone.

Guest 1: He’s killed the best man! [guests shouting]

Owner of Swamp Castle: Hold it! Hold it! Please! Hold it! This is Sir Lancelot from the Court of Camelot, a very brave and influential knight, and my special guest here today.

Sir Lancelot: Hello.

Guest 2: He killed my auntie! [guests yelling more]

Owner of Swamp Castle: Please! Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who. 

Like the Biden administration the owner of Swamp Castle expected to gain personal financial advantage from downplaying those deaths.


Of course Monty Python isn’t the only thing coming to mind these days. For example, Headline:

All FIVE liberal children of evangelical preacher Rev. Rick Joyner denounce their father in stinging NY Times article saying his right-wing views are ‘morally wrong’

Immediately brought to mind this bit of scripture:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

Matt 10:34-36

The cost for discipleship is a lot higher in an age when the Christianity is frowned upon by those in high position then in the days when it was followed and respected.


There are some interesting double standards also going on today. For example this press release from the city of Baltimore:

“Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore. We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction. We will develop sustainable solutions and allow our public health partners to do their part to address mental health and substance use disorder,” said State’s Attorney Mosby.

via Gateway Pundit, sounds an awful like this speech from Don Zaluchi during the peace meeting in the classic movie the Godfather:

I also don’t believe in drugs. For years I paid my people extra so they wouldn’t do that kind of business. Somebody comes to them and says “I have powders; if you put up three, four thousands dollar investment, we can make fifty thousands distributing.” so they can’t resist.

I won’t to control it as a business to keep it respectable [slams his hands on the table] I don’t want it near schools. I don’t want it sold to children! That’s an infamia. In my city , we would keep the traffic in the dark people –the colored. They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.

The primary difference between the pair is that Don Zaluchi isn’t pretending he’s doing a service for the black community, these people are.


Of course lately we’ve been seeing a lot of Yes Minister in the things being condemned and not condemned. Take the murder of a 64 year old Lebanese immigrant driving for UBER eats by a pair of girls:

The description of the fatal incident in this NBC News account doesn’t adequately explain the horror of what was captured on cellphone video by an eyewitness who started recording as Anwar was attempting to prevent the teenage girls from stealing the car. Answer was at the driver’s side door of the vehicle, holding onto the wheel, when the carjackers sped off with him hanging out the side of the door. They swerved left, evidently trying to ram him into a lightpole, and then turned right around a corner. The vehicle disappears from sight in the video, then a loud crash is heard. The witness runs down the street and, when he turns the corner, we see the car toppled onto its left side, the two teenage carjackers scrambling out while Anwar’s apparently lifeless body lies on the sidewalk.

Kurt Schlichter asks the obvious question:

Alas it is not to be as the two girls on camera were black and thus any condemnation of this as a Hate Crime might be considered racist as Stacy McCain explains:

Question: Was this a “hate crime”? The two teenage criminals were black, and had no doubt carjacked many other victims before they committed this crime in broad daylight. Were they targeting their victims on a racial basis? There has been a nationwide spree of carjacking in America over the past year, and there is a discernible pattern to these crimes. 

Of course Yes Prime Minister explained this long ago when arguing against the raising of a clergyman to a Bishopric:

Sir Humphrey: And he’s also against oppression and persecution in Africa.

Prime minister James Hacker: So are we

Sir Humphrey: Yes but he’s against them when practiced by black governments as well as white ones.

Prime Minister James Hacker: Oh, so he’s a racist.

Yes Prime Minister The Bishop’s Gambit 1988

Shades of DatechGuy’s 3rd law of media outrage there.