This Friday, May 25th, we will have been in Caruthersville for one full year. The change for the Pirate has been amazing. He is like a different man. Oh, the basics are still there, first and foremost, his single-mindedness, but socially, he is a man I never knew in California. And, in all the changes I've experienced in my own first year here, this change, his emergence into a more social person, has been the biggest one for me. More so, of all the social changes that I've noted, the biggest one is that he laughs more. A lot more.
So now I march into my 2nd year here though limp might be a better word choice considering my knee injury from six months ago A lot has happened. First off, let's talk about coffee. Daily Starbucks visits are no more. but the Roundhouse has a decent brew and I can spend an hour or two there reading, writing, and visiting. I also discovered Sweet Tea quite by accident (choke). Sorry folks, but I'm Team Unsweet The closest my tea ever gets to tasting sweet is when I have an Arnold Palmer and somehow the lemonade/ice tea combo is okay as long as it's made with ice tea, unsweet.
The library makes me feel pretty special. The ladies got to know me right away. I'll go in now to pick up a book I've had on hold and I'm likely to find another one waiting for me with it. Like a mysterious Facebook algorithm, they know what interests me and so far, they have been right.
I have a sense of loneliness here but not of being alone. The loneliness comes from the loss of all that I knew and the occasional yearning for a visit back to my old home isn't uncommon. But here I have found easygoing friendliness and welcome that has born the fruit of invitations to clubs, service organizations, and church groups.
Life speeds up here during the summer. Yes, it's HOT and life speeds up. Grandparents visiting or being visited by grands are a summer staple. And, wow, do the women travel. My Facebook feed is alive with travel adventures to please even the most deeply rooted armchair traveler.
The first time events came at me quickly and fast last summer. I experienced thunder so loud, it actually made me scream. Not squeal, but outright scream. I had no idea I could hit such high notes. I was a passenger in a car rear-ended by a semi. I saw my first funnel cloud sailing peacefully across the sky, not the least bit interested in making a fuss for we human below.
I HEARD an earthquake. None of that San Andreas rolling swaying for me anymore. The New Madrid fault had decided to introduce itself to me with a clap and a bang.
I toured a cotton gin AND climbed up into a cotton picker. Can you say WOW? The picker ride was like an old E-Ticket ride at Disneyland. I fell in love with your river and the barges and push tugs. Flood watching became my daily winter activity. Now if I could just get a ride ON a tug.
I cried over lost baby birds, blown from their nests during foul weather. I love my bunnies, birds, and squirrels that live in our yards. And this week I discovered that we had finches, too. Splash and dish rainfall adds to humidity. Sideways rain adds drama to life.
JAX and Jammin' at Joy's, not to mention Radio 1370 AM and its old school music and radio shows have brought music to my personal front burner with regular dates noted on my Android calendar.
I tried my hand at canning. Once. My kitchen is too small so, nope, I won't be canning again. And what I didn't know about mice before I moved here, I sure know now. And speaking of learning, I'm learning a second language. It's called Southern.
Voting and high school graduation are almighty community events unlike anything back home. Back in California, stranger gathered in line, voted, and departed. It was all very serious back there. Here? Neighbors met. People laughed and chatted. Gossip about what was happening at the other Wards was the main theme.
Graduating seniors, for that one moment, became everyone's children. Their dreams were on the cusp of starting to come true. We can't predict how long they may have to wait for the dreams to unfold; I know the Pirate had to wait a lifetime for his to be fulfilled.
So, what are my hopes, dreams, and goals for this second year of my new life? Two things immediately come to mind: (1) I WILL drive out of town, farther than Hayti, this year, and; (2) I will finally, FINALLY, get upstairs and finishthat room that has been patiently waiting for me.
Taken outside of Wellington Station in Turlock, CA
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