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An Irregular Column

 

Letters from London

Will Pratt


by Will Pratt – 


SQUIRRELS AND MAGPIES

We’ve moved house. From a three-bedroom bungalow into a two-bedroom flat. We’re slowly emerging from behind the pile of cardboard boxes. We’ve found homes for about 95 percent of our stuff. The good old Army thrift store has taken the rest. All we’ve got to do now is to remember where we’ve put everything.

It’s been chaos. I believe the psychologists when they say only divorce creates more stress. That’s another good reason for staying with my beloved.

When it came to packing, I couldn’t believe we’d accumulated so much stuff–I use that word advisedly. Where has it all come from? I now realize that our boarded loft has been our downfall. “Stuff” that we promised to sort out one day went up into the loft. Sorting day never came.

I think there’s a bit of the squirrel or magpie in us all, an acquisitive instinct. “It’ll come in handy one day,” we tell ourselves. No wonder 16 of the 38 parables in the Bible tell us how to handle money and possessions. It has fewer than 500 verses on faith, 500 on prayer, but 2,000 about money and possessions.

Jesus asked, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” I have a nasty feeling that with every bit of this world we gain, we’re apt to lose a bit more of our soul.

Those officers who thought hard things about me when, as chairman of the Territorial Finance Council, I disagreed with proposals to increase the farewell freight allowance will express their gratitude when they come to retirement.

For more of Pratt’s writing, read “A Funny Thing Happened on…THE WAY,” available at Supplies & Purchasing; price $14.95 hardback; $10.95 paperback, plus shipping and handling (310) 534-6090.

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