It’s been a long journey but I ‘think’ I may have finally arrived. I say think because I’ve come to embrace the fact that we just never know - anything. Right now though, I am ‘home’ in Mineral Bluff, Georgia, tucked neatly between mountains, sitting on my front deck writing.
I left here at 6am on July 17th to bring back my ‘stuff’ from Chicago. It took three weeks and untold, unexpected expenses, but I pulled into my driveway at 10:30pm on August 4th. The 6’ bed of the pickup was packed tight, as was the 12’ trailer. They sat cooling in the mountain air overnight while Rocky, Lola, and I slept restfully on the floor inside without a clue as to how everything would get unloaded. I wanted to take a picture of the complete load but just forgot. I think that you get the idea though.
I’d left Chicago originally on May 17th and took two months to get used to driving an extended cab pickup—there really is a difference maneuvering something so long. I had only one full day of driving to get used to pulling an additional 13’, including the trailer hitch bar. By the time it was over, my shoulders were locked in crunch position.
I took the longer route so I would only have a 33 mile drive on mountain roads instead of 65 miles. The 33 miles is on Route 64 along the Ocoee River. It's a lush, scenic route during the day. At night, it is a major tractor-trailer and logging truck route. There are no 'street' lights, only headlights - huge, glaring ones that come straight at you. The curves are nothing like route 68 through Tennessee, which is the route, I'm sure, that coined the phrase "hairpin turns." However, there are bends on Route 64 that are marked 15 mph.
Towing a 12' trailer and driving the road at night, both for the first time, I did 15mph for the entire 33 miles. At one point, I had a convoy of about 6 trucks behind me, politely tapping their air horns in unison. When I was finally able to see a pullover, I did so to let them pass, and as each one flew by, there was no longer even a semblance of politeness. The air horns blared and echoed off the mountains walls and into the night.
|Good thing I didn't see this pic before I decided on route 64|
I’d like to say I will never do that again, however I will need to hitch up a hauling trailer for tree planting, building materials, and equipment rental/purchase. At some point, I’m confident I’ll get it right. At least, I certainly hope so, because the semi drivers will surely have heart attacks if I don't.
On Friday morning, six men I’ve known for barely a month pulled up and unloaded everything within an hour. Again, no pics. I was just too overwhelmed with thankfulness. Then, Tom jumped in the pickup and in a matter of moments, backed up that trailer with ease, and just as easily turned it around and backed it into the driveway so all I had to do was pull out. If it would’ve been left up to me, the truck and trailer both would’ve been lodged deeply in the woods across the road. I couldn’t even back it straight out of a huge driveway into an empty street to head in a particular direction. It twisted and turned until I said the hell with it, and went in the opposite, read wrong, direction, and just turned corners until I was going the right way.
The three weeks I was in Chicago absolutely nothing went right. It took three hitches before I was able to get one that actually fit the truck. Why? I don’t know. But as soon as I got ‘home’ everything once again started to fall into place—the universe, the Great Spirit, God or whatever your name is—fulfilled my needs. Confirmation that I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in exactly the right place.
|On 2nd thought, maybe Lola is looking for the ceiling.|
Even the cats, were comfortable with the whole ordeal, which speaks volumes to the correctness of it all. When I had put everything into storage in July 2010 and went to stay with my daughter, the cats were traumatized. Rocky cried continuously and hyperventilated the whole one hour ride. Lola went into the ceiling of my daughter’s house and stayed. She would come down to eat when no one was around and went back into the ceiling. Even after a year of living there, she still wouldn’t go outside unless coaxed and then only for a minute or so.
Thirteen hours of driving and they slept most of the way. Occasionally they would wake up and meow a few times. I’d say, “Not yet. Lay down,” and they did just that. Once here, they wandered around freely and quickly. “Ceiling Lola” has even been down to the driveway and through the yard, all on her own volition. She is in and out of the door without hesitation. Everyone is ‘home’.
This morning, the man and wife I met at a local restaurant who suggested this house and who are now neighbors, stopped by on their way to work to welcome me back. They offered me lunch at the restaurant, Danielle’s Great Eats, later if I needed a break from unpacking. I haven’t seen my Billy Ray Cyrus look-alike neighbor yet, but I ‘hear’ he’s down a few roosters. I have seen a couple of them pecking in my backyard though. The vacant house next to me was rented while I was gone. Stephanie is about to drop a baby any moment. Not sure if she’s alone or not, I’ve only met and seen her.
My movers, who are all part of Feed Fannin and also the Fannin County Democrats, whispered to not put up any Democrat signs in the yard. Apparently, this is a pretty conservative area, but heck, to me; the entire state of Georgia is pretty conservative. Anyway, I’m not here for politics. I’m here to slow down and live simply and easily as are most of my neighbors. “Yeah, they’ll be nice until they get twisted,” was a response when I tried to defend my ‘neighborhood.’ I think we’ll just get to know and like and help each other, and it will test my theory that life trumps politics. After all, if Schwarzenegger and Shriver can stay married all those years, and probably still if he hadn’t cheated, I think we can be happy neighbors. Additionally, there are fences, and as Frost said, “Fences make good neighbors.”
Well, Rocky is rolling around in the yard; Lola is curled up on the bed, and I suppose it’s time to continue unpacking. I have a Cajun Cookout to attend tonight and I don’t plan to miss it. There will be pictures.
p.s. This cat rolling around in the yard is not this Rocky curled on the armchair. Uh-oh.