North of 50: Tote that Barge

By Colin Campbell

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It may not always seem that way, but there are some advantages to growing older, and I’m not just talking about getting 10% off during Polident Awareness Week at your local pharmacy.

For me, the freedom to lounge around home in mismatched socks and Don Cherry hand-me-downs is a bonus, but the best thing about being a senior is that I no longer get phone calls from friends asking if I’d be willing to give them a hand on moving day.

In the old days, when I could boast dandruff and nimble knees, I gave generously of my time, appreciating how difficult it was for the movee to find willing labour.

So many excuses…

“This Sunday, eh? Um...well... le’me just check with Barb.” (Turns to address wall. Barb is currently in Monrovia visiting her sister.) “Sorry, Harry. Barb tells me we have a dinner date with the Rhys-Crizpe’s Sunday. Some other time, perhaps.”

And again...

“Gee, Har, I’d love to help… and you have a piano too. Darn. But I did promise the wife and kids I’d stay home and help them pick speargrass out of the cat’s fur. Why don’t you call Campbell? He’s as puny as a garden rake, but feed him and he’s good for a box of pillows and maybe a lamp or two.”

Those few who did turn up usually managed to time it so they’d miss the heavier items:

“What! You mean to tell me you’ve loaded the buffet and freezer already? Rats! How did it go anyway? Nothing that a good plasterer couldn’t put right, eh? Well, let’s get on with it. Want me to pack out those towels?”

And so I would frequently find myself together with the movee’s mother and her skinny 12-year-old on one end of a particularly lively mattress, bumping and tugging the thing from the bedroom, through the kitchen, along a hallway and down a miserable flight of stairs to the moving truck. A few more staggering trips on the business end of overstuffed chairs and settees the size of boxcars, and I needed therapy just to operate the TV remote.

Mind you, I may be missing out. I’ve heard that it has become so difficult to recruit helpers that departing homeowners and renters are outbidding one another. The negotiating currency: food.

Gone is the old brew and crackers break, replaced by Chinese take-out, sushi, or Indian food and craft beers. I heard of one East Coast couple who served chowder and smoked Atlantic salmon and had attempted to hire Ashley MacIssac.
Who knows where it will end? But I won’t be surprised if conversations like this are becoming the norm:

“Any of you guys at the Stilettos’ last week? What a spread! So many margaritas, we had to have a siesta before tackling the glassware. And you should have heard that mariachi band! Wow!”

“That’s nothing. I heard the Filberts are offering sautéed iguana fritters and water buffalo in wine sauce, plus a take-home puffer fish for the wife. They told us not to worry about the piano or the freezer – they’ll load those themselves and get Grandma to help with the armoire.”

It all sounds quite lovely, but I’ll pass. At this stage of life, I’m not willing to risk injury reaching for the caviar.




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