Home Sweet Home

I’m back home for a few days. Although upon reflection it’s not really home. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in, I don’t have my room anymore, there are only a few people from the days of yore that I still talk with, most of my friends in NC live in other cities, my grandfather has passed, my Nana has Alzheimer’s and has to live in a nursing home.

Besides the familial ties to the area, there are no other connections that bind me. As my parents age, and their decline becomes reality, the pull to move back to be around just in case still tugs at me. My sister lives in AUS and it’s a bit far for her to make a quick trip back to help out if something happens. Do I move from a city I rather enjoy back to an area that has several shortcomings? At least shortcomings from my point of view. It seems the women here come in large or extra large. There is nothing wrong with that if you enjoy large and/or XL. I happen to enjoy XS, S and have the ability to range up to medium if needed. The dialect gets to me as well. Don and Dawn are pronounced the same. The long O of my birth place does not exist here except in a transplant. There is no Mom or Mother here but lots of Momma.

On the other hand housing is inexpensive compared to my hometown. One can buy quite a bit more house for quite a bit less money here. There are seasons other then nice, warm and f*cking hot out. The roads for riding are pretty good, not a lot of bike lanes but not a lot of chip seal or cracks in the road. The BBQ is better then any I’ve had in AZ. My favorite place to run in the world is here. These trails seem to teem with all sorts of wildlife. I’ve seen deer, turkeys, squirrels, birds, snakes, turtles, geese and ducks on my many runs. Rarely do I see anyone out running on these trails, which is a shame.

When I’m here I tend to go a bit overboard on the running, this trip being no exception. While my goal is usually to average about an hour a day. Right now I’m sitting on two runs – just over 3 hours of running logged and just under 24 miles with three days left. The quads are reminding me though of all the downhill braking and stutter stepping I do to avoid tripping on a root. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have to hit Salem Lake for a less quad busting run.

It’s weird being back for the first time since Granddad has passed away. The house is different without him here. I’ve been helping Mom clean out his stuff. While she goes through his papers, I’ve been going through his clothing. So many times I’ve come across an article of clothing or picture that triggers a good memory. A few times it’s been overwhelming. He owned over 30 flannel shirts. He dressed grunge before grunge music became cool. He was skinny as a teen ager. Knees that stuck out, his chest was more rib cage then anything. His arms were ripped, not big, but sinewy. Every pocket had an unused Kleenex in it, a habit my Nana stared him for him. He wasn’t allowed out of the house without a Kleenex in a pocket many years ago. In one of the binders I found was their first ledger. Rent was $14 per week. Their first mortgage payment was $54.50. The telephone was $6 per month. They had ~ $80 left over every month from his paycheck. I knew he smoked cigarettes before his first heart attack. It was pretty cool to find some pipes that he had used and some of his always sharp pocket knives that I forgot existed until I saw them.

I also found one of his dog tags, pictures and letters of commendation from WWII. He was a Navy navigator on a bomber stationed out of the Aleutian Islands. My grandfather’s don’t talk much about their WWII experiences. My Poppop has only told me that he was a mine clearer with the Big Red 1. Some of the pictures of my granddad perched on his bomber showed 4 Japanese flags for fighter planes his bomber downed. I guess I never really thought of my grandfathers having actually having been shot at and having to shoot back. As that generation dies off, I realize what an incredible amount of history, told and untold, that dies off with them.

It was nice finding pictures of my Babcia, I haven’t thought of her in a long time, she died on the day of my First Communion. My Grandfather had to fly her body back to PA from GA. Uncanny her resemblance and that of my granddad especially their nose.

Mainly I realized though how much I’ll miss him.

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