Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It has been fun, but exhausting.

My last post occurred on July 20, 2011 and it is now August 17. After a period of weekly postings, maybe some of you may have wondered why the lapse? What happened . . . and why am I so tired?

We moved. As in moving all of our belongings, furniture, stuff, dishes, memories, writings, pictures, library and more stuff -- from northern California to our newly purchased home in Marietta, Georgia. Over 2,700 miles!

Let me give you a short, but detailed account: It began with a flight from Atlanta Hartsfield, to Sacramento. Me and Violet, my seven month old puppy. She rode beneath the seat in front of me and didn’t like it very much; softly whining and sleeping when she wasn’t whining.

Bonnie had been visiting our grandchildren in San Diego, and met me in Sacramento where we rented a car and drove to Santa Rosa. Spent the night with our nephew and next morning, rented the biggest truck we could find. Mark (nephew) and friend packed the truck. Next day Violet and I climbed into the cab, kicked the diesel into life, and pointed our big yellow dragon’s nose toward Marietta, via Reno, et. al.

After a night in a Utah motel, I pulled into a service station. A worn Chevy pick-up pulled up close. Big man with a red nose rolled down his window and shouted, “Boy, (I’m 74 years old) you better take a look at your muffler. Hit’s about to fall off!” I bent down and looked and sure enough, the tailpipe hung about five inches above the ground.

Called the truck rental company who sent out a mechanic who fixed it. Just like that. Clean, efficient, no problemo! I drove off with the muffler secure -- with coat-hangar wire!

As I approached the on-ramp to I-80 in Somewhereville, UT, my cellphone rang. I proceeded up the on-ramp. “PULL OVER!” the voice on the phone cried. “YOU’RE LOSING OIL!!!” I pulled over a few feet shy of where the on-ramp meets the highway. I checked the mirror for oncoming traffic, opened the door, tried to calm Violet who was whining again, and got out of the truck. What I saw made me feel . . . well, I guess a mule-kick right square in the stomach might describe it. There was a puddle of oil the size of the Pacific on the ground beneath the engine, increasing in size every second as the engine idled. I quickly reached for the ignition, and shut it off. At that moment the mechanic pulled up behind me.

The oil filter had ruptured. Ever heard of an oil filter rupturing? I have lived 74 years on this planet, driven dozens of cars and trucks, and this was an all-time first. Five hours of sitting on the side of the road with my dog in not too unpleasant surroundings, and I was on my way again. This could have happened somewhere in the desert, with triple digit heat. I was grateful.

Arrived in Marietta six days later with no additional mule-kicks, hired two Mexican businessmen who did a superb job of unpacking the truck, and now here I am, still amongst the few remaining unpacked boxes, walls with unfinished painting, and almost completely remodeled kitchen, and tired. Yes tired.

I guess I’ve driven across this country in cars and trucks more than a dozen times in my lifetime. Maybe two dozen. Who’s counting?

But this time was different. I was kept company by a beautiful little Maltese named Violet, who licked my cheek as I drove, who barked at passersby while I was fueling the truck, who slept with me every night, and who played happily in the grass every time we visited a rest stop.

And we were both kept company by the presence of Someone else.

Yes I’m tired. Indeed. But we now have our own home. After three and a half years of storing our stuff, opening boxes has been like Christmas. Twenty-eight years of priceless memories. My wife is joyously happy. Violet has rejoined her sister and mom, and now we are only a few days away from having all the pictures hung.

Am I blessed, or what?!

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