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Gary Borders: Moving in the Texas summer is an unfortunate reccurence

Gary Borders
Gary Borders
Gary Borders

We moved the newspaper office on a recent Saturday, on the day coincidentally that I marked my 59th birthday. 

It was a day of trying not to strain my back, and doing what I can to assist men much stronger and younger than me to move desks, filing cabinets, and all the other furnishings — in time for us to open in our new location the following Monday morning.

I have worked for 12 newspapers and published 10 of them, and this is only the second time I have helped move a newspaper office. The first time was 36 years ago, when I had more hair, less belly and was considerably stronger.

The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches moved out of downtown into a new building on what was then the north edge of town, at the foot of a subdivision. At the time, folks thought the owners had lost their minds. But they understood which way the city would grow. And indeed it did — with a shopping center, the new post office, a couple banks and a Rite Aid building nearby over the next few years.

This time, we moved back to downtown, which is where a newspaper belongs. It’s more convenient for customers who want to drop by to run a classified ad or pay for a subscription, talk to me about whatever is on their minds, give us story tips. We can walk to the post office across the street, to the bank, and to the places where we gather a goodly portion of our news — the sheriff’s department next door and the courthouse.

Of course, this move took place smack in the dog days of August. There seems to be some type of law of nature that requires most moves in Texas to take place when the temperature is higher than my IQ. Well, as Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

The monster of all August moves was about eight years ago. I helped my oldest daughter Kasey move from one third-story apartment in Austin to another third-story apartment. It was just she and I wrestling a washer and dryer up and down narrow stairs — along with other heavy pieces of furniture.

I announced my retirement from helping children move after that, declaring that turning 50 ought to have some benefits besides 50-cent coffee at McDonald’s. I advised my daughters, go develop friendships with young men with strong backs.

I figured out the other day, I’m a bit chagrined to admit, I have moved 35 times in the 41 years since graduating from high school. Many were in my younger years, when we would be looking for a way to save a few bucks on rent. Others came as a result of a job change. Regardless of the reason, it seems like every move came in the summer season. I rarely moved in winter, when living in Texas generally is pleasant.

My dad, rest his soul, helped me move many times when I was a callow youth. He was kinder than me and helped up into his early 50s. I recall the time, when I was about 19, attempting to move a small revolving bookstand that I had gotten at a thrift store — the kind one sees stacked with paperbacks for sale. The stupid gene kicked in. I decided to move it without taking the books off. We rounded a curve and the books flew off the stand and out into street from the back of his old truck. My dad had a few choice words to say about that.

We’re excited about our new digs downtown. At least my back held out through one more move.

Gary Borders has been an East Texas journalist and editor for more than 40 years. He works now as a freelance writer, editor and photographer. You can see his work at garyborders.com. He has written for World Wildlife magazine, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer and Airstream Life.