Thursday, June 19, 2014
He is departing, with recliner and dog
Unlike Diana Vreeland, I was unable to arrange to be born in Paris. I was born in Lake Providence, Louisiana literally on the banks of the Mississippi River, a fitting start to a gypsy life lived on the periphery. And when I say gypsy, I mean in relation to movement of people as opposed to the wearing of head scarves and bangles. And just like in Cher’s memorable hit, there are additionally both tramps and thieves in my extended family. The original words said, “Gypsies and white trash” and I’ve got some of them too. I’m not saying who; I’m just saying.
We moved on the average of once every 18 months throughout my formative years, but always in the same general vicinity. I call it ark-la-homa-tex-ippi. Y’all would call it the boonies; some of my readers call it home. In my leadership video on YouTube ("Funniest Leadership Speech Ever"), I define the boonies as “a place so far outside the city limits even animals question your presence”. And it’s true. The animal that is me questioned, mostly to myself, the constant movement. Whether we were running from or toward something, we were making good time.
From birth through high school graduation at 17, my family lived in 19 houses in 10 towns in five states. Combining college and graduate school, I spent seven years at three schools, all mercifully in Mississippi. If you’re doing the math, I had two junior years and that is a whole different story. I will tell you my Native American name was “pick-a-major-already”. Since I began working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, I have lived in 15 houses in 12 cities in 11 states. All of them decorated to within an inch of their lives. That’s a lot of throw pillows, people.
And I wonder is wanderlust innate or learned? My mother lived in the same house from the age of 2 until she married and my Dad’s family stayed in the same general vicinity most of his life. It seems that we were the inaugural gypsies. My siblings and I have mirrored that behavior to a degree, but with cuter outfits. My sister has moved several times, but nothing outside of the norm. My brother is in the Air Force so he and his family move often, but that is inherent in that commitment. I have moved many times to get where I wanted to be in my career. Fortunately, I have nothing living in my house except me; no pets, no plants, no children, no spouse. In that order.
I recently asked my Dad why we moved so much and he insisted that it was always for a better job and I have no reason to think he’s hiding something, although moving with a gooseneck trailer in the middle of the night bears questioning. We only did that once to my recollection, so I guess I believe him. About that, I mean. I don’t believe him about most things, however, because he has only a passing familiarity with the truth. It’s not so much he tells lies on a consistent basis; it’s more that he’s told the same lies so often he really doesn’t remember that they’re untrue. And I understand that to a point. I used to lie so much about my family’s financial situations that I forget when I now tell the truth people don’t believe me.
And the only reason that I’m even talking about this is The Dad is moving on again. He is returning to Louisiana to live with his sister, the sainted Aunt Gladys, she of the peanut butter cake fame. He has decided there is “too much town” out here in the land of the heathen and he wants to go back where they have trees and things. The fact that “town never stops” from San Francisco to San Jose bothers him. I did drive him out to where the trees and cows live but the fact that it took 45 minutes and I wouldn’t let him get a hot dog at the Sonic by the Tractor Supply Store, did not bolster my case. I argued the fact there was both a Sonic and a Tractor Supply Store but he countered with “fine, we can live in this parking lot, then.” So, you see I had no choice. I am unaccustomed to living in a parking lot and have no desire to get outside of my comfort zone by being, well, outside. If I could get one of these tech nerds out here to figure a way to get me to work, shopping and church through a series of air-conditioned tubes, I’d be good to go.
It’s been almost three years since he moved in and I started this blog but take heart, the 15 of you who read this (and yes I’m bitter, share this with your friends for pity’s sake), I will continue to blog. Now that I’ve introduced Uncle Dusty’s thoughts to the world, I can’t be silenced. You can’t quiet a kicked mule and you surely can’t un-kick it. Now that you’ve unleashed me to the blogosphere, I am unleashing The Dad on metropolitan Shreveport/Bossier City. He’ll actually live at the end of a red dirt road, off a gravel road, off the main road in Bethany, Louisiana (which I am assured is actually on the map), but he has to enter the city limits for doctor’s appointments at the VA and the occasional trip to the casino buffets or Piccadilly. So, gird your loins, folks, he’s a-coming…with recliner and dog.
And that’s all I’m saying for now.