There are three things you should know before we go any further (and further and farther we will go).
First, I’m now married. Sure, those of you that follow me on Facebook already know this. But for the few people that are pressing on in life sans Facebook (good for you!) but that also read this very neglected blog, I feel like you should know that I tied the knot. Michael—the MADman I’ve been dating for the past 3 years—asked me to marry him in November and by the end of the month we were hitched at the courthouse. I’m incredibly happy and maybe slightly annoying. But I’m still me—just amplified and more me than ever.
Second, I have to rename this blog one more time. Because yes, that very same month of November, the MADman and I bought a house in Decatur. So I’m Ponce no more. I’m toying with names for the blog and may go to something more regional than specific. Don’t hold your breath. I have so many changes coming up it will make your head spin.
Third, and a big one, is that I’m leaving my current job by the end of the month and will, at long last, begin my dream of being a public librarian. Specifically, I’ll be a public reference librarian for Atlanta Fulton Public Library System. To say that the move is bitter sweet is speaking the truth; but it is much sweeter the closer I get to my leaving. The students and faculty will be sorely missed. But the lessons they have all taught me I’ll carry with me wherever I go. Like words, some things mark you for life.
All three of the above changes will be repeated themes in the days ahead. Send me some light and guidance while I navigate the new terrain of my life.
But before it’s named, I want to share some of the calm and tranquil of the cabin that dad and John Miller created behind the Kamama gallery they run. Mom keeps calling it “Julia’s Cabin” only because I’ve asked her not to. It’s absolutely a cabin that will be enjoyed by many — but I’m admittedly already looking forward to going back. The photos are courtesy of Suzan Buckner— because, yes, I forgot to take my camera. (Maybe I was using that as an excuse to go back up?)
Without further ado …
Here is the link to some pictures. Now help me name it please.
So, it’s high kitten season in the South right now and the pictures and videos that have been sent to me lately have me thinking that it may be time for another little furry beast in mine and Carter’s life. I spoke at length about this with CK (Carter Kitty) and though he seems a bit resistant now, I think I can wear him down. Unfortunately, showing him video of the close-eyed, smush faced kittens did nothing to sell it to him. I’m still working on the marketing of the idea. Perhaps if they come in salmon flavor? No, I can see problems there too. Anyway, if I’m thinking it AND writing it, trust me, that means something may be happening soon.
Dad sent an email explaining his decision to sell the family farmstead. I think some of the insight into decision making, life, the passage of time and a glimpse of what matters is worth sharing. Hope you all enjoy. There is a bit I left out — but it was more personal and unique to just his kids. However, I did want to include the respect that the new owners of the home appear to have. I think it makes a tough transition less painful and their consideration of the past and the importance this bit of land has to my family is one of the kindest and most human gestures I’ve heard of lately. It’s a nice reminder to me that warmth and understanding defeats almost any doubt. (non-italicized parts are dad, ellipsis means I omitted something).
It’s impossible for me to begin explaining why I decided to sell the place of my youth without mulling over in my mind why I moved back in the first place. I believe I was always “going home” ever since I left to work for Lockheed and retirement and a little financial success finally made it easy to do. But there were lots of other reasons too, like: wanting my family to better understand me and my history and my absolute respect for folks who work the land; wanting to build a place that my Mama would be really proud of; wanting to build a place that your Mama would be proud to live in and wanting my children to love the same kinda things that I love. But the biggest reason was probably to come back and do the things that I loved when I was growing up and be closer to family and old time friends.
However, like everywhere and with everybody, things change – friends die, family changes, and age creeps in behind our skin and changes the way we view and are viewed. I woke up one morning and discovered that I no longer LOVED to work the garden and keep up the fences or clean around the pond – it was a depressingly painful chore. Keeping up my little Shangri-La was no longer what I wanted to do and certainly not what my family wanted to do. What to do, what to do – I could just let it go back to nature and plant everything in trees, I could do a pissy job of keeping it up for a few more years or I could sell it to someone who thought it was a thing of beauty, a work of art, and let them live here and love it and keep it up.
I was lucky – I sold the place of my youth to a family who Love’s it and will take care of Mama and Daddy’s home and my work of art. The new family has a plaque on the front door that says “Padgett Homestead – Circa 1948” and the pond will be called “Ray’s Pond”. I believe their respect for our history and love of this place will be something that my grandparents, my parents, and my family would be proud of.
(Me too, dad, and I know that what you’ve created would make your mama and your daddy proud. Thanks for sharing your dreams and your struggles. The road goes ever on — enjoy the adventure.)
- Clean, soft, cotton sheets. You have no idea how long you will spend in bed. You think you do, but you don’t. Minutes, hours, days, weeks can pass. Be comfortable for it.
- Layers of warmth. Have a comforter, a blanket and several other sources of heat to pull off or add at will.
- Lots of pjs. What with the flop sweats, hacking cough and inability to shower due to gripping chills you will feel dirty.
- The internet and a laptop. I knew that the internet was a boon and then I got sick and it became a lifeline. All of the aforementioned time in bed is the obstacle. You can’t read effectively due to delirium. You can’t write. You can only prop yourself up and cling to babymac. It is your only hope.
- 30 Rock. Yes, you need all 3.5 seasons of 30 Rock. Alex Baldwin’s Jack telling you to never follow a hippie to a second location. Tracy Morgan’s endless rants that may indicate genius. The cute men that rotate through poor Liz Lemon’s love life (including a floppy haired Hamm). All of these things combine to become a poultice to your soul. Yes, 30 Rock heals.
- A wide range of hot teas. They will bore you otherwise.
- A vat of honey.
- Friends. Yes, the text messages, the emails, the somewhat convoluted (on my part I think) phone calls, especially the drop off of goods (thanks Darryl). These things keep you tied to reality and replenish. They make you think you are not a pariah (even though you really are).
- Straws. No illness should be present without the ability to sip through a straw.
- Pirate’s Booty and Pepperidge Farm cookies. Indulge. You feel like you are on your deathbed, so you may as well not care about the waistline.
- A brother, or some relative that is tied to you through blood and therefore will not abandon you entirely. Granted mine did walk around with anti-bacterial wipes and not enter the same room as me. However, he also made sure I had food and drink and he picked up drugs for me. He would call to me through the door and ask if I was alive and needed anything from the store.
- Advil and Tylenol. Apparently you can take them alternately and not do too much damage.
- And last, you need to have walls a color that really makes you happy. Because honestly, the only thing you’ll take away from the whole experience is “damn, I love my walls”.
Stay healthy! Wash your hands! Don’t touch your face! Take your vitamins and load up on C! Drink water! Get the vaccine if you can! AGAIN, don’t touch your face!
My parents are considering selling the farmhouse. They have been there for over a decade and that is a long time for them to stay still. I went down over the weekend to say hello to the Bobs (my former cats) and to visit. The angel trumpet had just bloomed, the confederate roses were changing from white to pink, it’s a lovely spot. I know for my dad, deciding to sell the place of his childhood is beyond a tough decision. That’s the kind of thing he can be good at though, deciding things. And my parents have a lot of flaws, like all of us, but fear of taking risks is not one of them.
But naturally it’s bittersweet. I know I’d never want to live there. I can’t imagine my brother ever would be happy there — but it is the one place that threads throughout my personal timeline. It comes close to being my constant—but that’s not the truth. Like everything, it has changed. Thinking about this on my drive to Atlanta, I realized the true constant lies in my parents — their ability to keep moving, keep changing, keep taking that leap in a moving van — pushing the horizon. The sound of wheels on asphalt driving down the road is the steady beat of my family. The only true constant is change.
Will post pictures later when time permits.
Smoke from the grill, lemonade, gathering of friends on the lawn, the last dip in the pool and eating key lime pie in the moonlight. Nah. This was not my labor day weekend.
When I was about 20, I was bit by a brown recluse. Which is entirely irrelevant to what I’m saying, except the recluse part. This labor day, I insisted (at times in very loud tones) to be alone. I wanted to nest. I was screaming for solitude. Humanity, family, friends, even the furry beasts, had to be put on hold. I spent my labor day weekend (for the most part) in solitude. Saturday night I finally felt like I could handle some company and had a dinner and drinks with the ladies. Yesterday my brother came by and took away the curtains and rugs — all those trappings of dust — and that was it. Mission accomplished. My soul feels calmer. I’ve avoided eyes and minds. It’s good.
Of course, now I’m back. Lots of students around me. I still feel calm, and unlike the poor spider in the bed of my 20-year-old self, I’ll try not to bite anyone if they come into contact.
Hope everyone had a safe Labor Day and got to spend it the way they wanted!