Every time I attend a large conference, I am struck once again by how immense this country is, the regional differences, and the incredible similarities of the people. Last night, I sat at a table with people from California, Nebraska, Illinois, Delaware, and New York. While there were slight differences in our accents, there was no communication barrier even as thousands of miles separate our homes. Basically, our cultures are the same. We all do similar work, and our daily issues are quite similar. There is a huge comfort in the neighborliness of conferences and the willingness to meet new people to discuss new ideas.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for many reasons. Even as I have been exhausted and stressed out, I have tried to remind myself that while these aren’t the best of times, things could certainly be worse. I know. I’ve lived through times that were much worse.
This morning, I received an email from my friend Tom. Tom is a former fellow band member from back home. T and I have stayed in touch (somewhat) with Tom and his wife. He was emailing to tell me that our former bass player, Bob, had recently died. While that was sad, it wasn’t surprising news. Bob was well into his eighties, and I had known that his health had been failing. What surprised me most was that Tom asked me to call him as soon as I had a chance to talk. I replied that I would give him a call when I headed out for lunch.
I’m so happy to be home tonight. I trudged through the day, exhausted and haunted by a nightmare from last night. The DJ’s on the local talk radio station complained about the the day which was windy and much colder. I disagreed. I welcomed the brisk, chilling wind. It woke me up and blew the stink of the nightmare from my skin.
The week from HELL carried on into the weekend from hell. Friday wasn’t a good day. T has some serious things going on at work that I will keep out of this blog to protect his privacy. However, I will say that they were serious enough to consume hours of conversation and to cause fear in both of us. Not the kind of fear where you’re afraid of losing your job, but the kind of fear that makes you wonder, “Why in the hell am I involved in this anyway?”
I went to bed early (for me) on Monday night. I had an early morning meeting the next day followed by an evening event. I knew that a long day was ahead of me, and I was patting myself on the back for trying my best to be rested. I had left my phone on, as I had promised Emily, because she was working a rare overnight shift. By 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, she was texting me. “Mom, something is really wrong. I’m feeling so sick.”
We moved back to our hometown in 1990. We had been headed for Tennessee, but at the very last minute, we couldn’t leave. T had been offered a job, and we had sold our first little house. We packed up everything as we prepared to move across the country. We loaded it all into a moving van with the help of our families. I’ll never forget that day in 1990. Baby Andrew was asleep in his car seat between us in the front seat as we prepared for a long drive. We sat for a moment staring at our first house before we pulled away, and I began to cry. My parents were not taking this move very well. Neither were his parents. I don’t remember who said it first, but instead of heading for Tennessee, we headed for my parents home 20 miles away. The next day, we rented a storage unit, unloaded the truck, and began to look for a home in the town where we had once proclaimed we would never return. Continue Reading »