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Going Native, Going Home

“These days, this Gulf Coast Girl has gone Native. Home: White Sands, warm saltwater, cold creeks. One of those things in life that happens where you hit pause for a moment and listen to the music your soul has been singing all along. As Grace Potter’s new song ‘Mother Road’ explains – “I’ve lived a million lives, driven a million miles, now Mama’s headed home tonight.”

Over the years I’ve traveled a little here and there. Lived in a few places since pulling away from Panama City with a tiny U-Haul trailer headed to South Florida and some exotic tropical nights, went to Kansas City, MO, and loved it there. Loved the people and the Chiefs games and KC Royals baseball. Moved to Taos, NM, and breathed in the sage and green chilies. Watched the shadows of clouds race across the mesa while I worked in arts development in the shadow of Taos Mountain and worked with artists like Bill Ranes and RC Gorman, and it was all wonderful in its unique way.

Then Daddy got sick and me and sister both picked up from respective cities in the world and headed ‘home again’ ‘cause we were southern girls who loved their Daddy. He ‘magically, miraculously’ got better with a quickness when we returned. I feel now that maybe that sly dog of a good man played us. So, we settled in our hometown again, but the day came after he passed away maybe ten years later that it was time for me to head off into the sunset again, and I picked up my bags and headed toward Nashville. A year or so later, my sister followed, then my youngest son, and we nested in our respective spots, near one another. Brought Mom back and forth until eventually moved her up with us. And Nashville might as well pay me and sister for being Ambassadors for the City because we love it for a thousand different reasons. After 22 years there I still do and will return often.

When I decided out of the blue that it was time to move off the hill, I had my eyes locked on the Gulf Coast - Cause you are what you are. But the opportunity opened for me to go live down the street from my oldest son and family and I headed to NC, which is beautiful from the Smokey Mountains to the saltwater coast. Got to be with those adorables and that charming absolute ray of sunshine, Mitri, who needs his own clothing line because he is such a cool cat. And there is a special joy in watching your little boys being and becoming men- being a husband, father, friend. And if I lived a thousand more years and them too I would never get enough of their company. Never.

But something began to happen while I was there. This longing for the Gulf Coast getting stronger instead of passing on by. Seeing friends gathering for Homecoming games, Crawfish boils, or listening to a friend and his band playing. Then a dear friend passed unexpectedly. We had just made plans to have dinner the week before next time I was down. Then he was gone. Just like that. I found out about his passing on my birthday right before I went to an absolutely beautiful dinner with my son and daughter-in-law and grands, and my sister had flown in. Great food and conversation and Greek wine and the smiling faces of those Adorables and all the while thinking of Cy being gone and me celebrating another year of turning around the sun. Surreal in a way. Like walking a tightrope of what is gone and what remains. And - I began writing These Days posts. Friends leaving such warm comments and sharing memories of their own that the words seem to awaken in them. And – I began to realize most of those posts were love letters to what once was. All to place. Holmes creek and the beach. This land grafted into me. So, forgive this long piece if you will, but there comes a time in life you realize that the place where’d you spread your ashes when you die is a someday you don’t have to wait upon. If your final resting place means so very much you choose to let your remains rest there for eternity – just maybe enjoying that sense of belonging while your still in physical form might possess its own kind of power. So, Expect a ridiculous amount of sunset posts, a few sunrises, and a continued love letter in posts to this place I call home. They say you can’t go home again. They’re right. You can’t go ‘home again’ because the again denotes a time that no longer exists. Things change. People change. Places change. This place has weathered some mighty rough storms. So, have I. Her landscape isn’t what it used to be. Mine either. It’s like running into an old lover 20, 30, 40 years down the road. Not the same person at all. Changed a whole lot. Yet . . . somehow, when you look into one another’s eyes it’s exactly the same. A deep feeling that the soul of what once was remains untouched. So, you can’t go home ‘again.’ But you sure can go home. This native girl just did.”

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