Sitting in what used to be a study, but is now a room filled with cardboard cartons, awaiting a huge semi to whisk away 30 year’s worth of CrossBow (our home) there is an overwhelming need to address a fairly simple, but often painful topic: Saying Goodbye.
Since the demographic of this blog (you) is 35+, educated, with liberal tendencies, and strongly opinionated, I am 100% positive that you have lived through every single curved ball I’m about to throw at you. In short, saying goodbye is rarely fun, often devastating, and sometimes it tears your heart to shreds. As you read, fill in your own mom, spouse, loved one, and most likely furry loved one. That’s where I first learned what losing a wonderful friend means.
I’ll try to keep these mercifully short, for you don’t know these people…creatures. At the tender age of 13, I lost Bella, my little black miniature dachshund. She’d been sorta sick for a few days and then one morning…she was worse. I told Mom, we’d better get down to the vet and as we were speeding down Drakestown Road, with me holding her in a blanket, she relaxed in my arms. She was gone.
Over half a century later, I’m relating this to you. I have my own personal theory about animals dying. When your loved one dies or your mom or dad, spouse, sibling, it’s so huge that your circuits just flip off. It’s too much to comprehend and personally, I just go to zombie. With a furry pet, it’s different. For me, it goes right through my defenses. Buck, Asia, Dingo, Carly, and my best buddy Oogie died and even now, I can barely type the letters.
But lest this turn into a sadness-fest, there are different typed of goodbyes. When Pam and I left Japan, having lived there for years, we’d had it. We were 1000% ready to return to AMERICA. I gave Yokota AFB and Japan in general, the finger as we took off, and landing in Oakland CA, I did what probably looked like a grandiose thing. I kissed the macadam getting off the plane. If it hadn’t been 150 degrees, I might have tried a French kiss, I was so glad to be back.
Hopping around a bit on the timeline, when I joined the Air Force, Pamela and I were dating. It was pretty much like in the movies…Officer and a Gentleman comes to mind, except, being on flying status, we were ALWAYS saying goodbye. I could list 20 podunk towns and airports where we went through this but, with every goodbye, our resolve to be together became stronger. One night, at a pay phone in the BOQ, Bachelor Officer’s Quarters, I asked Pamela to marry me, 90% because I was madly in love with her, but 10% because I couldn’t stand saying goodbye to her anymore. We were both amazed and ecstatic when we said our vows and took off together for…Keesler AFB, Mississippi. (Who cares where you are if you’re together?)
FRIENDS: Another form of saying goodbye is saying goodbye to friends, and we’ve said goodbye to a bunch. The military does that to you and it gives you a perspective. We’ve had very close friends in a number of countries and states over the years…….but in the military, you learn to cope, to appreciate the terminal nature of friendship. The goodbyes were sad but sweet, because everybody knew what was going on.
More recently, our friends are all civilians and, to be honest, the water gets muddier. Civilian friends tend to pretend that we’re all gonna get together real soon…somewhere in the future. I had one gal say, “You can’t leave till you promise me you’ll come to visit. Promise me! Right now!” I couldn’t do it, not in good conscience, because I knew it wasn’t true. Sometimes you have to just say, Goodbye.
This week, is more muddy water…somewhat muddy,that is. Where we’re going, Asheville, NC, the Paris of the South, is the friendliest place I’ve ever seen…bar none. www.romanticasheville.com I could go on and on, but I’ve done that several times before in these blogs. Where things are muddy is there are a number of good friends who are fed-up with the rudeness, the road rage, the taxes being 10X to what they are in NC, and a page and a half more reasons. Some of them are, indeed, moving down. Bravo! and Brava! Some are only toying with the idea. That’s how it goes. And to some, we stand there, hug, look each other in the eye…and say Goodbye you wonderful, wonderful friend!
For the ones who are seriously on the fence about Asheville, I’ve invited a number of you to come and visit. We have a guest house with its own dedicated driveway and full facilities. How can you tell you’re at the fork in the road? Take a look.
To our friends, Thank you, thank you , thank you for your FRIENDSHIP!!!!!
Pam and Henry
P.S. Pamela just proofed this and suggested that I tell you that…we’re not dying, just moving. See ya next week!
Thank you, Pam, for (sort of) reminding your husband that Asheville has Internet, too!
Love you both! Bless you both!!!
Thanks Mary Lou!
We’re putting in a waterwheel at the new place and…possibly, the cyberspace blogs will be a result of water flowing past a big wooden wheel. There’s a lesson there somewhere.
Henry and Pam
I’m balling buckets. When are you leaving?
I hope you’re going to keep up with you blogs.
We will miss you terribly, but wish you all the luck, love and happiness as you begin the next chapter in your lives.
Gonna miss you guys!!!
We’re leaving in one week and with a little luck, I’ll be reporting new chapters from a new and strange land.
Big hug and love to you both!
Henry and Pam
You can’t get away from us that easily. When a southerner (my husband) says he’ll see you or y’all come back now, he (And me by proxy) means it.
I know you do, so we’ll see you at the fork in the road.
Pam and Wade
Okay!!! We have a date at “The Fork”
Big hug to both of you.
Henry and Pam
So I have shed a few tears reading this, it’s ok. Life is supposed to bring us bittersweet moments, right? I wish you both many more years of happiness at your new home. I would also like to thank you for giving our son the chance to hang and learn from you all those year ago. He still feels your influence <3 Safe travels, post pictures, and if it is meant to be, we will see you again. Thank you both for your wonderful friendship, it's meant a lot. Well, enough of that. Have fun reinventing your new life. Change is good, I'm sure of it.
No matter how rich or good-looking or brilliant you are, life throws you a whole bunch of hardballs somewhere along the line. That’s part of the deal and you’re right, change is good.
We’ll miss you and when you get down to NC, you know where we are!
Big hug, Deb!
Well my friend, you did it. The only person to downsize from a 10 acre homestead to a 12 acre piece of paradise. I value our friendship as it becomes one important piece of my life’s puzzle. I thank you. For who you and Pam are, as we used to say in the Navy, BZ, Bravo ZuLu, well done! Genuine…the real deal. As my people say, it’s Beshert…meant to be. When you get to Savannah Blue, I wish you….welcome home! Phil
PS: like Yogi Berra says,” if you come to a fork in the road, take it”. Really? Cute!
Hey! We used to call it Sierra Hotel when we were flying (Shit-Hot). Yeah, that “downsize” concept… The house is actually a LOT smaller, but then our house was just too damned big. And then we have the guest house so…I don’t know how much downsizing we actually did. But Whiskey Hotel Foxtrot, sometimes you have to go with your heart, not your head.
Hope to see you two, my friend!
Goodbye, Henry and Pamela I wish you Good Health and Happiness in your new home!
That seminar/lecture we all did will always remain a fond memory. Thanks to you and Harry!
Awesome and so true. So many goodbyes.
Yep. I hope I’m sleeping through the “last” one.
I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how much I enjoy reading what you write, in whatever format it is in (your books, emails, etc.). Best of luck with your move!
That means a lot. If you and your family come to the Asheville area, I hope you’ll look us up. We can swap some horror stories!
My good wishes go with you both. This is your next step in life together. You deserve all the good things it brings. Thank you for all the interesting notes, and many good thoughts for the future.
Fondly, Nancy Schiffer
Thanks for your kind words. It’s been an enjoyable chapter in our lives knowing you and Peter and thrashing around in the world of art-books. Thank you for that. It’s meant a great deal to me.
And, if you can get away for a little breather sometime, you have an open invitation. I haven’t exaggerated my feelings for Asheville and Black Mountain. From my perspective, like a fine chef, they have managed to reduce (boil-down and concentrate) what is fun-loving, arty, literary, and foody and put it in a package of good and cheerful friends.
It’s a combination that’s pretty hard to beat.
Best to you, Nancy and please stay in touch.
Henry and Pamela