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A trail of tears and softened edges after 10 years …

Time flies when you’re having fun.

Somehow, Ellen and Reid have never read even an abbreviated version of my move to Charlotte; but here I am, 10 years later and my head is still above water. In a lot of ways, the move to the South marked a wholesale overhaul of the tone and tenor of the letters.

What was a light heartened effort to occupy their time in college and in their early 20’s made an abrupt 180 degree turn. It was now about overcoming distance between me and them, and describing the mixed feelings/emotions as their dad muddled along with unfamiliar environs, the complete lack of friends, a stifling work culture, and a jury rigged life below the Mason Dixon line.

August 29, 2016

Ellen/Reid: It’s hard to believe but earlier this month my 10 year anniversary in Charlotte quietly came and went. I’ve tried hard to make heads and tails about the how and why I got down here at all for nearly one sixth of my entire life. It really has been a mostly surreal decade, what with reinventing virtually everything in my life from work to friends to living arrangements to adapting to Southern life to you name it. As I drove around on that recent day, August 15, I tried to assign my tenure a grade on the 1-to-10 scale. Of course, assigning grades is an exercise in the moment and reflects one’s mood at the time. I dunno, but since it was mostly a melancholy day, I gave it a 6. Any other day it might have been a point higher or lower. It’s kind of like opinion polls where the margin of error is a point or two.

Reid, what I do recall, vividly, is walking out of the Bridger Wilderness with you on Saturday, August 12, 2006, driving back to Des Moines, loading my BMW with literally all my worldly possessions Sunday night and Monday morning, and then – bingo – pulling into Charlotte at 10 p.m. in a driving rainstorm as I wiped away tears (wondering just what the hell I’d gotten myself into) and setting up temporary residence in a bland all-white condo owned by the bank. My memory as a rule is spotty but I remember that entire sequence as if it were yesterday. But time tends to soften the hard edges and I’ve inured myself to things here. Yet I’ll never really be considered a local by my or anybody else’s standards.

And to think all of this is about to come tumbling down. Even though the 10 years has gone by in a flash, it’s just another blip on the life scale. I’d like to think of myself as somewhat resilient but reinvention of self is just another way to say ‘go with the flow.’ And I’m about to do that.

Ellen, you guys are also the rolling stones that gather no moss. I didn’t realize the re-hab gymnastics you and Tim are doing before you move into your new place. You need to send me a few photos since I can’t visualize what you’re getting yourself into, and I say that in a positive vein. Tim’s photo of you vacuuming in Des Moines was just a scream. Sometimes you just have to let things go.

The house is slowing but surely coming around. Sealed the deck and worked on the mundane living room over the weekend but I irresponsibly jilted my pressing responsibilities on Sunday afternoon to go play golf with my friends Sondra and Jody. She is one hell of a cook so after golf I got to eat her pasta and all it cost me was a bottle of Malbec. I’ve got to get cracking on the garage and the infernal spare bedroom/office. While the garage should be manageable, the bedroom is going to be a frigging nightmare. Hope to sell both twin beds and the wooden desk on Craig’s List, but if my results are no better than the non-response generated for the Harley,


For sale: A Road King Classic. I’d of thought someone would snap it up by now; ‘… or best offer’ doesn’t sound too bad right about now.

then I’m really going to be pissed. It is so disheartening for the bike not to have sold. Ellen, your suggestion to take it to the Harley dealer is one I’d hoped to avoid but it looks like that will be the action of last resort. But I want to be rid of the thing. You don’t know how many times I’ve rued that purchase and wished I had the old Heritage Softail back. It was one hell of a ride. Stupid is as stupid does.

I see the doctor this afternoon about my left knee. It continues to be sore all the time. Perhaps any surgery can be put off for a few months. If I can limp through several weeks in Wyoming on a bum leg, I can sure as hell gimp around getting a house ready to sell. Ellen, I’ll head out today to get the succulents you and Liz recommended for the copper tray in the kitchen. It’ll lend a little class and dress up the windows. I’ll tell you what: you send photos of your new abode, and I’ll send you pics of the new flower arrangements. Deal?

Love, Dad


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