Sunday June 17, 2018 – Columbus OH (home)

It’s goodbye to all my friends
It’s time to go again
Think of all the poetry
And the pickin’ down the line

                   Townes Van Zandt

Family lunch today in beautiful Yellow Springs. Larry, Terri, Shannon me and mom and dad. Father’s Day at Ye Old Trail Tavern. Apparently the oldest tavern in OH. No pictures. I am slacking on my journalist duties. Beautiful old building and were it not for the terrible service and bad food would be a decent place. But we managed to enjoy each other’s company—as we nearly always do. It was hot. Damn hot. Hotter than a snake’s ass in a wagon rut—so the saying goes. I left the little hound at home in the AC. She doesn’t do so well in this kind of heat. She is starting to show her age a bit.

I have been on a Townes Van Zandt kick and so listened to him down and back. Hence the quote and picture. He was pretty special. A little story here from Susanna Clark that I have always loved and which always makes me cry. It’s as beautiful of a tribute as you are likely to ever read. Maybe only slight less powerful than Wallace Stegner’s tribute to his mother captured in the book ‘Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs.” A terribly sad but evocatively beautiful piece of prose. There simply is no way to read that and not become reflective of the sadness of so many for so long. Our ability to exact happiness from life is possible only by the context of fully embracing perspective. Of understanding what is possible—and what is the reality for so many others. Happiness comes through the small things. The good meals, the nice hike in the wilderness, a beautiful view, coffee with a friend, snuggling in on the couch with a good book and the dog by your side. Family, friends, adventures and quiet nights at home. And of course Love. The sadness of the world could consume us if we allowed it. Bruce Springsteen once said ‘it’s no sin to be glad you’re alive’. I like that. I always took it to mean that it is okay to pursue our own happiness. Not at the expense of others of course, and we must always do what we can and acknowledge the reality of the world—but we mustn’t allow those realities to be an excuse for us not to find our own happiness.

We are all coordinating to slowly get mom and dad moved out of Chautauqua. They had an open house today. Apparently possible interest. It is an old house in a quirky part of town. But a beautiful old place and mom has the best yard and flower garden in the area. No garage and one bathroom are drawbacks for the modern house shopper but there is someone for whom this house would be perfect. Then we need to turn our attention to getting things ready in Somerset. There is much to be done and it will all start to happen quickly once their house sells. We still need to close on the house we are getting for mom and dad and of course the actual move.

It will be good for all of us to be in the same general region. I am one hour away from everyone else but for years we always had outliers. Mostly Larry and I did the moving about. It’s a little odd to think about their not being in Chautauqua. I would have been around 5 or so when we moved into that house. It was our 3rd house in Chautauqua but the first two were rentals. The first one no bigger than 800 feet or so for a family of 6. Aside from summers and weekends on the farm, Chautauqua, Carlisle, Franklin and Miamisburg represent my entire childhood. There are a thousand stories to be told over those years of our growing up in that community. I cannot imagine we will have much of a reason to return once mom and dad are moved—maybe the odd funeral or wedding I suppose. It’s only 2.5 hours away but might as well be 500. There’s not really anything there to see—it was just home for a long time.

The new job seems okay. Stress level is declining. No matter how hard I try to be philosophical and casual about my work, it just doesn’t seem possible for me. The thought of failing in any way gives me great anxiety. I don’t feel I need to set the world on fire anymore, those days are over, but I always want to give more to my employer than I get. I want to be a good value to them and aim to please. Perhaps to a fault but it is part of who I am and no need to worry about changing that now.

I got the tent off top of the camper and will try to get it moved to my garage this week so I can start the modifications. I am anxious to get that done so I can get in some camping this year. And also some canoe time.

Once it cools a bit Mandela and I will move outside on the deck. I think I’ll have a cigar and a Guinness before making pizza and Caesar salad for dinner.

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