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  • Writer's pictureSean Burnley

I Don’t Miss Stuff… anymore.

Sometimes in the middle of the night I can’t sleep. So I just think about stuff. Sometimes I’ll get up and write my thoughts in a journal and it helps me clarify things. The following is a rambling of one of those times.

I lost a lot of photos several years ago due to a computer crash. Because of this I don’t have any pics of my old pool table to share. Man, that thing was sweet. Olive green felt. Heavy legs and springy rail bumpers. I had spectator chairs with snazzy upholstery. And quite a few pool cues of different weights. Before I had to sell my house that was one of the last major pieces of furniture to go.

I was thinking about all the things I’ve lost in my life and how it has affected me. Sometimes I find myself missing some of the stuff I surrounded myself with. Nice stuff. Expensive stuff. Important stuff. When it it occurred to me, it wasn’t the “stuff” that I miss so much, but the reminders of events and good times with family and friends that I hang on to.

I had always told myself when I was young that I would one day own a pool table. I guess to a boy from the Mississippi Delta it was a status symbol of sorts. Only ‘rich’ people had pool tables I thought. During summer break when I’d go visit, it was a treat to spend time with my dad playing billiards at some pool hall. He’d do his best to teach me the basics about how to rack the balls, break with confidence, and play out a strategy. But I was just a kid and I’m sure I didn’t really get it. What counted was we had that time together just talking and playing.

Some summers I’d visit my grandmother in Kosciusko, Mississippi. There I’d get to spend time at the local rec center goofing off around the bumper pool table with my uncle. I didn’t play all that well but had fun trying. I remember him showing me how to pour peanuts in my bottled RC Cola. Crunchy, salty and sweet all at once. That’s what you did back then. Those were warm memories for me.

Later in life, I had my ‘successful’ career in place. I had surrounded myself with lots of stuff. But I have come to realize that it wasn’t the stuff that I wanted to be surrounded by, it was relationships. The big pool party, Friday night billiards, or Super Bowl parties were only gateways to sharing experiences with people. I have long since let go of the glut of materialistic wants but it has taken me 50+ years to understand why I thought I needed all those things.

So you see, I don’t miss all the stuff I had to let go of, but I sure do miss the time spent with family and friends. Maybe this year of partial isolation has brought that into focus for me. Do yourself a favor, live in the moment. Soak it all in and remember the good times you are given. You never know when it can all go away.

—Sean Burnley

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