Load the car and write the note
Grab your bag and grab your coat
Tell the ones that need to know
We are headed north
One foot in and one foot back
But it don’t pay to live like that
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
For never to return
~The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You
I fled my homeland of Wisconsin as soon as it was humanly possible for me to do so. But I’ve said it before, and it will spill from these lips again, and again…there was absolutely nothing wrong with where I grew up or who I grew up with. I have a freaking awesome family and my childhood was honestly pretty amazing. My parents are still married; my siblings are all grown, stable, and reasonably well-placed in life. We are a good bunch and I am honored to be placed among them.
Wisconsin was just not ‘right’ for me. That is simply it. I didn’t fit and it didn’t fit me. There was no trauma, no remorse, no regret, and certainly no resentment. In fact, I try to get back there for as many glorious birthdays, weddings, and holidays as possible.
Unfortunately I am also frequently en-route north for the less happy of occasions.
My first trip back was after living in Austin for two years. It was my dad that called me home; it was my sister Elizabeth that prompted it. I still remember what it was like flying into Appleton after so long. I can taste the fear and recall the unknown. I can hear her now phantom pains. To this day I can tell you what I was wearing, what the hug from my brother felt like when he picked me up from the sirport, how his car smelled, and how her voice sounded when she called me into her hospital room.
Since then there have been many surgeries, and funerals, and divorces…still fortunately fewer of these than the joyous trips.
Today I fly back to see my grandmother. It is sadly not one of those happy trips.
Dumbed down and numbed by time and age
Your dreams to catch the world, the cage
The highway sets the traveler’s stage
All exits look the same