There has been some fallout since I recounted, last week, the massive clean-out of our basement, during which over a week more than four decades of accumulated stuff was sorted and sifted and regrouped and disposed of.
It seems we aren't the only homeowners whose basements have been taken over by gremlins that breed like rabbits.
One of our friends said we were lucky. "In addition to a stuffed basement," he said ... and then he pointed up. "You should see our attic."
No, thanks. We'll take your word for it.
It is, we have concluded, a law of nature that any empty space in a house will soon fill up, seemingly on its own accord.
Older son, in a telephone chat after the fact, observed that the stuff with his name on it being stored in our basement "doesn't eat." We don't believe that. We think stored stuff eats like hogs: anything, and lots of it.
How else to explain the phenomenon of cluttered basements?
I suggested that anything you put in a basement turns, as soon as the lights go out, into ramen noodles, and the air becomes boiling water. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure something like that takes place.
Younger son suggested we install spy cams in the basement. "You would finally have proof," he said. Perhaps this is one instance when knowing the truth would be scarier than living with boxes and bins and stacks of stuff.
Even before the Salvation Army truck arrived to take away the last pile from our basement, my wife sent me downstairs with a piece of ceramic African pottery (probably made in China, like most everything else these days), nudged out of its decorative space by a larger piece of pottery, all to make room for the magnificent bird sculpture (by a gifted artist from Galway) that younger son got at an art gallery in Ireland.
I protested. I said, "We haven't even seen the last of all that junk, and here we are putting something in the basement. Again."
My wife looked at me the way wives look at their husbands when it is obvious that women are superior creatures in every way. I headed for the basement.
So, was the Great Basement Archaeological Dig worth it?
We now know what we have. And what we don't have any more. That gives us a good feeling.
Know what else we have?
A HUGE basement. Who knew we had such a big basement? We have room for a pool table. Or a pingpong table. Or a hot tub. Or ...
Or more stuff, which will gravitate to the lowest point in the house as whatever years God grants us roll by.
Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.