Being a novel, all characters, events, dialogue and representations are fictional ... and in no way are meant to represent any real or living persons or events... except the few annual events that are used to move me through time. The opinions expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my author. And the story is copyrighted, by my author of course. Oh, and from time to time I may include some real time events to keep the blog more authentic. Comments and suggestions will be appreciated and seriously considered as the story moves along.

If you are just joining us, start with the Prologue and Chapter One on March 1, 2011, in the Archives.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Getting Ready to Move

The irises in my backyard are just beginning to bud. These are from last year. I plan to dig up several of them just before I leave at the end of the week and take them with me.
After  I broke the news to my family about accepting the job at Tech, I spoke the next day with President Ramsey, letting him know I would be tendering my resignation at SMU. He said he was sorry to see me go. Over the years, we’ve grown to respect and admire each other, which makes both our jobs much easier.  
I recommended James, the assistant director, as my replacement. He’ll do a nice job. 
I found a Realtor the week after my decision to head west. Even in today’s economy, she thought I could get about three times what we paid so long ago. She was right. I will be out by the end of next week.
Most of what was in this house is already gone. A lifetime of possessions that remind me of Jim, of our life together, and of his loss. I don’t want it to go to West Texas with me.
Thankfully, I don’t have to worry. Jim had things set up well. I am so blessed. I don’t need to work, but who wants to sit around all day thinking up things to do?

Not me. I enjoy communications work. Every day a new challenge. I need challenges to feel alive. And to not think of Jim every moment of every day. Transitioning from Dallas to Lubbock should be quite a challenge, don’t you think? 
My neighbor thinks I’m crazy to make such a change in these uncertain times. What with the riots in the Middle East and the horrible economy, even in Texas, he is sure the end times are near. He thinks I should be stockpiling food and water and weapons. I told him I thought if the end times are near, I would be better off in Lubbock than in Dallas. He just shook his head.

It’s not that I’m not conscious of world events. I am, and concerned about the stability of peace, what little there is. My generation, and my sons’ generation— relatively untouched by war, except of course for the horrific events of 9/11. And thankfully, neither went to war in the Middle East. And I am eternally grateful our nephew Ryan returned home safely from his stint as an Army Ranger.

But I have a faith that God will take care of me... of us... and that gives me peace. If the world goes more crazy and we are in danger, then I’ll deal with that when it comes. But as my dad used to say, worrying gets you nowhere and demonstrates a lack of faith. If there is one thing I need now, as I change my life so drastically, it’s faith. 

Did I tell you I was amazed at how fast the house sold? Oh, I did, didn’t I. My realtor set it at a reasonable price, or so she said. Reasonable? In this economy? How does anyone have that kind of money? But, it’s sold to a young couple with two young daughters. I know they’ll love the house and the neighbors, even the one who is stockpiling food!
As I said, I’ve disposed of most of my possessions. Ben was the happy recipient of his father’s leather chair to place beside the fireplace in his own den. I shipped Jim’s beloved books to my son Michael in Oregon. I kept a few pieces of furniture for myself, including my father’s old desk and mother’s drop-leaf kitchen table. Movers have been hired to transport the remaining belongings, and on Saturday morning, I’ll point my ten-year-old Volvo west to begin again.
Sharon, my dear friend from Lubbock—remember her? She’s flying in this week to help me finish packing. I think she’s just coming to make sure I don’t chicken out at the last minute. We had a good talk the other night. We were remembering our college days. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of the days when we roomed together. Or of growing up at Tech. Or of dateless weekends. Of sparky parties and zilch parties.

For those who weren’t fortunate enough to attend Tech in the 70s and live in Drane Hall— I have no idea if these unique parties went on in other dorms—I’ll elaborate. Both can only be done at night. In the dark. (Not nearly as sinister as it sounds.)
For the sparky party, participants sit in a circle on the floor of the pitch black dorm room, facing each other. On the count of three, Wintergreen Lifesavers are put in everyone’s mouth and chewed with lips parted. Actual sparks will fly. The fun is being the last one to succumb to the giggles! I know, pretty lame, but what can I say? It was the 70s.
A zilch party, another distraction for those of us without dates on a Saturday night, is a little more dangerous. Actually a LOT more dangerous. We’d afix a wire hanger to the middle of the ceiling, on the light fixture, I think. A plastic clothes bag would suspend from the hanger with knots tied in it at intervals. The plastic would hang down over a metal trash can half full of water -- a much needed safety precaution. Then the lights would be turned out and the bottom of the plastic bag lit with a match. The flame would move up the plastic a small section at a time and the burned residue would make a zilch sound as it melted in clumps and fell into the water below. Quite a site!

Looking back, I am astonished we didn’t burn the dorm to the ground. Ah, youth. Too many of those dateless boring nights, if you ask me. 
Anybody remember ODAs? Obvious Display of Affection. If your date dared to kiss you goodnight in front of the dorm, you were written up... and too many such write ups turned into restrictions. Oh, how things have changed.

I got one. An ODA. And I was happy to receive it.
I need to go finish packing the master bedroom. 
Not that there’s much left to pack. I haven’t slept up there since Jim’s accident. I gave the bedroom furniture to the Ladies of Charity Thrift Store in East Dallas. They were happy to receive it.
Next week? On to Lubbock! Yikes!
I’ll blog after our trip on Saturday.

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