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.
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!