After returning to the United States last July, I drove to Montana to help take care of this year's cherry pruning at the Emerson orchard. When I returned to Rochester with Judy, moving west was first on the agenda, and our first task was to get her remaining belongings from the attic into a rental truck so she could make it back for the start of her school year. I was left with the task of helping my sisters prepare my mother's house for sale, and getting my own house ready to sell to Evelyne, the tenant who took care of it during my year away. Both of these tasks involved carpentry, painting, and lugging boxes, furniture, and woodworking tools—a few that are made of cast iron, that were meant to be stationary. In my mother's house, an estate sale got rid of, in one day, what my sisters and I could not. At my house it was not so easy.
I still had the remains of a studio photography business from the days of view cameras and darkrooms, and the market for these things had not improved since my previous attempts to sell them. I had file cabinets full of film. And I also had books, many of them. (I still have too many, but fewer than I did.) And because I had been less attentive to my house than I should have been, I had projects needed to be finished before a bank would consider loaning money to a buyer. It was a time of little sleep and lots of aspirin.
In late November I finished what I could of packing up the house I lived in for thirty three years. The part that could be sold was gone, and what was left I could not throw away for reasons that I am still trying to explain. With one large Penske truck and a trailer for my car, I left the east. Now, many months after the fact, it is very easy to sum this time up in a few sentences here, but easy is not how it was then.
Although I now have Montana license plates, coyote does not rhyme with boat yet, so it will still be a while before I can pass for a westerner.