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Moving in the Time of Coronavirus

(Apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.)

If you know me and you’ve sensed I’ve been distant for a while… well… here’s an explanation.

Throughout most of 2019, my family (wife and daughter… an important clarification) and I started rethinking our life plan.

“Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Mike Tyson

The short version goes like this….

My in-laws faced some health challenges in 2019. After the success of my wife’s first novel, we felt better about our financial state and wanted to look at options.

All three of us suffer from horrific allergies. The continual pollen bombardment was affecting our quality of life.

And then there were the usual smaller, seeming insignificant things that over time become… well… big and significant. Especially when one takes a moment to add them all up. (Good evening, dear colleagues.)

In November, I began exploring professional options. I was offered a company transfer in the general area of my wife’s parents. After we weighed the pros and cons, we committed to the move.

(Actually, after I weighed the pros and cons for weeks, we committed to the move.)

Then COVID-19 hit. Quarantines, shutdowns, social distancing.

A lot of this shit show… which includes people unnecessarily dying… could have been prevented. That’s all I’ll say… for the moment… on that matter.

A few days ago, we relocated to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. (Yes, you should check the date of this post.)

We’re fine. Exhausted, stir crazy and frazzled… but we’re fine. As far as we know. We took every precaution we could.

Look…

This isn’t how I wanted things to go. Because Memphis was home.

“Home” is a strange concept for the child of an itinerant minister. My childhood meant moving from place to place every two to four years. I’m not exactly sure who in the United Methodist Church came up with such a wretched concept. It might have been John Wesley. If so, I hope to meet him one day… because I have some strong words for ol’ Johnny Boy.

Listen…

Memphis can, if you’re paying close attention, be a miraculous place. I came back in 2010 in attempt to reset my life and get my bearings. I’d been in the desert. (A literal damn desert.) I needed to rethink, grow and then get to the business of living a new life.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would meet an amazing, talented, beautiful woman who would actually put up with my insanity and figure out a way to pull me out of the proverbial gutter… so I could start walking… with a purpose… again.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that woman would marry me. Because let’s be honest… I was a train wreck.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would buy a home together. Not a house. A home…. a home we created together.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a father… to a beautiful little girl who, at the tender age of three, already knows how to say just the right thing at the right moment that gets me back on track. Seriously… the kid is so perceptive that I’m breathless after she drops a truth bomb on me.

And never in my wildest dreams did I think I would leave the city and the people that I love so much.

I’m grateful. Humbled. Blessed.

I didn’t get much of a chance to say goodbye to so many. It stings. Then again… I’ve never been much good at saying goodbye.

I don’t know when… or if… I’ll be able to return. I’ll be fifty years old this year. I’m somewhat starting over in my career. My daughter will grow up… against my wishes… and my time with her is precious.

One never knows.

In Memphis, we somehow found an extended family brought together by… of all things… a professional basketball team. To outsiders… to those that don’t understand my city… that makes no sense. To those of us who comprehend it on a deep level… it makes perfect sense. It is a diverse, eclectic, dysfunctional extended family… and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

We found a church we loved… filled with good people with great hearts. My short time in attendance fundamentally changed my beliefs… for the better.

And then there are the close and dear friends outside of those two circles that I will miss. Yes… there are ways to stay in touch in this allegedly glorious age of technology.

There wasn’t a proper farewell. I was robbed of that. My wife was robbed of that. My daughter… was robbed… of that. And those we love that we may never see again were robbed of that.

Angry?

Damn right I’m angry.

But no amount of anger or rage can ever erase my love for my city.

I’ll miss you, Memphis. I miss you already.

And I’ll always love you. Because, as a certain radio personality once said, “If you will love Memphis… Memphis will love you back.”

I did. Memphis reciprocated… as it always has.

There’s nothing more to say / Let’s try it again another day…