I am ON VACATION!!
About two weeks ago, I realized I needed an infusion of love. I get love in Louisiana but it’s not really the kind of ‘known you a long time and like you just the way you are’ kind of love that I was craving. It happened all of a sudden – like a flash of genius. It was sort of like the Scarlet O’Hara moment after Rhett tells her that he doesn’t really give a damn. “Home. I’ll go home. I’ll think of some way to get him back,” she proclaims with hope in her eyes and the sounds of ghosts of the past reminding her of the luring call of home. But, I wasn’t wanting to get HIM back. I’m trying to get ME back. I’m longing for that happy-go-lucky gal that moved down here to this swampland 15 months ago. Home. I’ll go home to Memphis. I’ll think of some way to get me back.
I counted the days until it got here, and I did the hard things I needed to do this week to start me on the road home … the road back to myself… the road that I took when I got myself back after my divorce. I may even have to go back to that little apartment in Memphis where I metamorphosed 6 years ago. Maybe there is something there I need. Or maybe I can find the secret ingredient at Central BBQ inside a pulled pork sandwich. Or just maybe I’ll find the magic key on Main Street among the streetcars and tourists. I don’t know where I’ll find it, but I know that I started up I-55 – the same road that brought me down – at about 5 PM this afternoon. The sky exploded in pink just about dusk as I crossed the Mississippi state line and completely lost cell phone coverage while talking to my friend Jo Ann.
I turned up the country music. I chatted for about an hour with my Houston friend Alayne. I let go of the idea that I needed to fix things at work in Louisiana and let myself slip slide into an easy acceptance of the way things are. Ahhhh … that felt good. Maybe a little distance will help my spirit bounce back. I spoke with Jo Ann and thought of last week’s river float. Ahhhh … that felt good, too. Maybe a little distance will purge the bad from my memory and let the dust settle only on the good. “This is how we ro…ooo…oooo ……oooll..” the radio blared.
I wanted something healthy for dinner. I didn’t want a slug of a burger and fries in my gut. No, I wanted to feel good. The goal is to take care of myself in the hopes that I’ll feel safe in my own skin. I stopped at the Picadilly for some veggies and gumbo and got a stellar meal for $5.34. You can’t beat that. The nicest people in the world staffed that restaurant, and in 20 minutes I was back on the road again. I got just past Brookhaven and realized I didn’t want to drive another four hours. As much as I wanted to make it to Memphis tonight and wake up in her arms in the morning, I realized that I wanted to take care of myself and get rest so I could hit the ground rolling in the morning. I called my hotel expert Gretchen to hunt me down a hotel in Jackson that would take me and my girl without breaking the budget. We ended up in Pearl MS at a La Quinta Inn and Suites.
I took care of myself. I’m glad I stopped. I’ll be in Memphis mid-morning to deliver two turduckens to my friend Sharon’s husband Jeff. I called him to tell him I had two turduckens for him. He had absolutely no clue what a turducken was or that I was bringing them, so it was a hilarious conversation with him imploring, “What are you bringing? Who is this? What? What?” The party will start around 11 AM and will continue non-stop until Monday at around 11 AM when I say goodbye to Keri at coffee and head back down the road home. All I can say is I hope the girl that left Louisiana is not the girl that comes back. I think I may find her in Memphis. If I don’t, I’ll at least find a lot of her friends. I’ll find a few of her trails at Shelby Farms. And I’ll find her favorite BBQ sandwich. I may even find her smile over a sunset or two on the northern end of the Mississippi. Look out Bluff City….. here I come. Oh, and if you see my friend Sharon, please tell her to find me. :)