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It was my email that alerted me to an item sitting out in my physical mailbox. That happens a lot these days. A blue box appears on the right-hand side of my screen and without so much as opening my email, there is the message. I pop on a hat, grab a jacket and trudge out to the mailbox. Before I’m there both cats have greeted me. I remove my mail, walk back to the house, and one cat runs ahead while the other follows me. They both come inside and are rewarded with a treat. I open the one piece of mail addressed to me and it is a string winder and cutter. Handy!

For a simple hobby that has no goal but to amuse me, my guitar collecting comes with paraphernalia. So far there are three amplifiers (people collect those as well) a tuner, some neck measuring tools, and now a string winder and cutter for changing out strings. That’s just one little hobby. Then there’s photography.

Starting sometime after 1966 I have enjoyed photography. I had my darkroom set up in an unused closet in our big old 1840s house. It also had an old Collins Ham radio receiver that I loved to mess with belonging to my Dad. The darkroom equipment was a film developing canister and a couple of pieces of glass for making contact prints and several plastic developing trays. I never had the money for a real enlarger. Just those items alone created a bit of clutter. As the years went by I sent my 35mm film out to be developed and concentrated on lenses and accessories for my East German Praktica camera. I spent decades dreaming about acquiring a real Nikon SLR camera and did not do that until I was in my fifties. I have since traded up several times to better models and have tripods, a lightbox, lighting, lenses, etc, etc. More clutter.

Collecting watches piled on the paraphernalia. I ended up getting a wooden toolbox with lots of drawers to store band pins, bands, batteries, tools, and more. I’ve made a hobby of replacing watch batteries for family and friends. I also have numerous watch winders for my automatic watches and a swiveling store display for watches that I have filled to overflowing. I enjoy giving watches to people that tend to match their personalities.

My collection of cars and motorcycles gets more practical as the years pass. If I had to inventory all the tools and parts and accessories that I have accumulated in the past twenty years it would take a long time. It runs from compressors to ramps to jacks to creepers to impact wrenches and on and on. Once I get the madness completely under control and the cars and motorcycles down to a manageable few, I may have a better idea of the paraphernalia inventory.

Boats. I’m down to one boat. I have one set of shelves in the garage with boat stuff on it. The one item sitting in there that I would like to put to use is the electric boat winch. Stuff like the ship-to-shore radio and other ridiculous extravagances need to go. Evidently, I had to go through several boats before I figured out what size boat I wanted and enjoyed. Once I got it down to that it became the perfect backyard lawn ornament. What they say about boats is probably true but I know that I’m hanging on to the one I got and most of the junk that comes with it.

This has been a partial list of all the paraphernalia that I have collected like a magnet attracting iron shavings. It’s unavoidable. I swear, if you buy a wood stove you’re going to end up with a chain saw and a chain sharpener. That’s how paraphernalia works.

“The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett” is heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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