Moving Experiences

Now Playing: Long Time Gone, by Crosby, Stills and Nash. “Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness, You got to speak your mind, If you dare. But don’t no don’t now try to get yourself elected. If you do you had better cut your hair.”

I’ve certainly had plenty of them. When we moved to Indian Trail in 2001, I figured that it was my 10th move since August 1979. Of course, we’ve been here since then, and I hope it’s where we stay forever. We made a pact with the neighbors a few years ago that none of us could move unless we all did. I plan to keep my end of the bargain – and trust me, it is a bargain for us. Better neighbors one could not have.

What brought this to mind was an article I read today about the state pressuring moving companies to follow a two-year-old ordinance requiring their owners and officers to have criminal background checks. Really? I wasn’t aware that his had been a problem.

Up until my last two moves, I’d always used the Friends and Family plan for moving. As in, get a bunch of friends and family together to do it.

I can still picture my parents taking me to college. I think we’d borrowed a pickup, and it and the car were packed full of stuff. We must have looked like The Beverly Hillbillies pulling up to the dorm at Carolina. Not that I cared. I was just so glad to get there.

After I graduated, I moved back to SoBo briefly while I found a job. It turned out to be in Jacksonville, on the coast. I got as cheap an apartment as I could find and we did the Hillbillies thing again and got me moved in. It wouldn’t be the last time I called on the family part of the equation.

But in J-ville, I’d move three more times. This time it was the friends who got the burden. There’d usually be some kind of party, with beer, pizza and whatever to entice the help. It usually wasn’t too hard to find help, and frankly, I’d been paring down my stuff over the years. The fact that the moves were all within a two or three mile radius didn’t hurt in recruiting, mostly from the motley crew that worked with me at the newspaper.

Then came a bigger move, from J-ville to Gastonia.  This one was tougher, because Karen and I were going across state this time. We rented a truck, called in some favors and recruited a bunch of bruisers from the paper to help out. It was hilarious. Ron and Paul worked in the sports department at the paper, and they competed to see who could carry the heaviest stuff with the least help. You should have seen them lugging the washer and dryer and other stuff. They and the other guys who helped got us packed in no time. But we had an obvious problem. We didn’t know a soul on the other end of the trip, and, of course, Karen and I had two cars and a truck to get to Gastonia.

But then again, we didn’t have a problem. We had a great friend. Paul Schmidt, whom we called Schmidthead and Schmidt for Brains and lots of other names – you get the idea, agreed to drive the truck to Gastonia. We didn’t really have much of an idea how we were going to get him back to J-ville, but he wasn’t worried. Paul didn’t worry about much, he lived in the moment. (You may remember I’ve written about Paul once before – he lived hard and died young when he choked on a fish bone at a restaurant.) He helped us unload and get settled in. I let him drive my car to Charlotte that Saturday night to look for trouble. We finally figured out that another friend, Bill, was in Charlotte visiting his girlfriend. We managed to arrange that Bill would take Paul back to J-ville when he went that Monday morning. So it all worked out.

The next big move came when we moved from Gastonia to Henderson. Again, this one was tough. My new boss in Henderson agreed to reimburse me for a moving truck, but I had to pack, load and unload it myself. And I really hadn’t gotten that close to the folks I worked with at the Gastonia paper. So I was pretty worried about things. I shouldn’t have been. Newspaper people are many things, and helpful is one of the best. A bunch of guys from the sports department agreed to help me load up. It was a rainy cold Saturday morning, but they all lived up to their promise. And a random resident of my townhouse development, a guy I might have spoken to once before, pitched in and helped out.

On the other end, my family showed up, with my brother and brother-in-law doing a bunch of the heavy lifting. That was one of the last time my brother would be capable of helping. His body has broken down since. But he really did me right then. We would move again in Henderson, and my friend Jackie Peoples, one of the biggest, baddest guys I’ve ever known, would do much of the work. He was press foreman at the newspaper. Other than the ruts he made in the yard driving the truck on wet ground, it worked out great.

The next two times, I hired movers. That was a different experience. I still feel bad about the first one. This huge guy named Jimbo ran a moving business in Henderson. He agreed to move us to Matthews after I told him we were on the bottom floor of the apartment complex there. What I didn’t tell him was that we were down a flight of steps. I don’t think he liked it, but he didn’t bitch about it.

Then, when we moved from Matthews to Indian Trail, things went real smoothly. The guys were professional, they took great care of our stuff and we didn’t have to give them beer, pizza, biscuits or any other bribes. Just a big old check.

I’m not sure what the state is trying to prove with the background checks. Is it looking for organized crime? Does it think movers are stealing customers’ stuff (if so, a background check of the owners and officers isn’t likely to help)? Or what?

Far as I’m concerned, they’d be better off doing background checks of lawmakers – including candidates for governor. That seems to be where the criminal element is these days.


“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
_ Oliver Wendell Holmes




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