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Spring cleaning and coming clean about the past

Mychal Wilmes explains the arguments in his home about what to keep and what to throw and times when it was better to come clean with the truth than to cover it up.

Garage sale seasons begin before the dandelions, and that means it's time to get rid of things, Mychal Wilmes says.
Courtesy / Pixabay
We are part of The Trust Project.

The garage sales season begins even before the first dandelion flower shows itself. Convincing Kathy that we need to get rid of things and not acquire more is an impossibility. It would be much better to undertake a thorough spring cleaning.

What should be tossed or kept is a matter of disputed opinion.

Since that is the case, the 15 baseball caps representing seed companies, livestock markets and others are too precious to throw out. So are the toy Ford tractor and pickup truck, which are parked in a place of honor on the shelf. One never knows when the pointy shovel and rake with busted handles will come in handy. The scythe bought 30 years ago at a farm auction is just like the one Dad used to cut down horseweeds on the edge of the corn field.

In my less-than-humble opinion, the items cluttering the office desk have no more value than the dust bunnies accumulating on the floor. Kathy has a far different opinion.

It’s not as though I’m always right. I’ve been wrong before, and it was no more apparent than a few years ago when I undertook to rid the house of what in my opinion was unnecessary when Kathy was away for a few days. Tossed items included old bills, birthday cards, and periodicals.


mychal wilmes.jpg
Mychal Wilmes

Unbreakable natural law dictates that once such items are tossed, they will be needed in less than a week’s time. Since that time, nothing is given the heave-ho without permission.

Sometimes the good that I would do doesn’t get done.

Honesty involving more than a white lie to spare feelings can be put off, but not avoided.

Such was the case in 2021 when backing her good car out of the garage. The car, that previously was in perfect condition, ran into the driver’s door of my beater car. The beater’s door was dented, which the good car emerged with a small scrape or two. I almost worked up the nerve to tell Kathy before a friend suggested otherwise.

“Don’t tell her because she won’t likely even notice,’’ he advised.

Free advice is most often not worth a wooden nickel, but I took it anyway. Kathy did not notice the dent in the car door for more than a year. The vehicle was parked under a streetlight on a dark night when the truth was revealed.

“Look at that big dent in your car,’’ she said.

“What dent?’’ I responded.


“When did it happen?’’ she asked.

Unless one is digging wood corner posts, it’s best to stop digging before the hole gets even deeper.

The truth was I couldn’t imagine how I did it — given that I’d pulled her car out of the garage a thousand times before. It didn’t matter anyway, because the wound to her car was hardly noticeable, and a dent or two in the beater only added to its character.

That was not the case years ago when my twin brothers were proud of their Army-green International pick up. When the wind was blowing in the right direction, the lumbering pickup achieved 8 miles per gallon, which was OK before the OPEC oil embargo caused gas prices to reach the sky.

The pickup was just a few weeks old when it was loaded with corn to feed the steers in the outdoor lot. The ground next to the bunks was wet and slippery, which explains why the vehicle slid hard against the bunk.

The gash ran the length of the truck’s left side. My brothers were less than pleased, but as Mother said, accidents do happen. However, it took them a long time to forgive and forget.

By that time, they understood that the International was a lemon.

They own better, and much more expensive trucks now. I’ve eaten a big helping of humble pie in wake of the hidden accident that did not remain covered up.


Mychal Wilmes is the retired managing editor of Agri News. He lives in West Concord, Minnesota, with his wife, Kathy.

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