And another one leaves Paradise.

My mom has loaded up and is getting into her little white car tomorrow at about 3:00 AM. She’s sold her casita in the hills, and the last few real possessions other than clothes have been gifted, donated, or bartered away. Although she has had to make the difficult decision to leave a dear Tabby with a neighbor, she has Emily, a cat abandoned at birth, and close companion for nearly ten years accompanying her. She also has one of her own three sisters, packed and ready to go along for the ride. The 3,000 mile journey is sure to be Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. And they will take no prisoners.

Tomorrow morning before the crack of dawn with Willie Nelson blasting on her radio, her neighbors will be treated to “On the Road Again” well before they’re ready to rise. They’ll know that “E” is gone. That she’s left town. She’s outta Dodge. And a Hearty High-Ho Silver — Away! Any person unfortunate enough to stumble out of bed to figure out what all the racket is about could be treated to a couple of flying fingers of fate extended from the car windows– one from each side, barely visible, but recognizable through the dust.

She’s off to Virgina to start over again. It’s for the last time, she has said, but I’ll believe that when I see it. No, she’ll not likely be back in Paradise anytime soon, although she’s lived here since 1968. A lifetime of wanderlust has finally taken a gentle hold and nudged her to head somewhere else. Anywhere else but here. The expense and the summertime heat has gotten to her. The dust and the grit of living out in the hills. The unwillingness to tolerate for One. More. Day. the motley assortment of individuals who inhabit the community she has called home for more than six years. My sister moved to Virginia in December and that has been another factor. No, she’ll not be back. I know this. Although she has lived in Arizona, California, Florida, South Carolina, and Spain, the decision to move from one place to the next has never been hers. For the very first time, it is.

Younger Mom Quite a milestone.

She’ll be 70 this December, so those of us stuck in Paradise will head to the Right Coast, gather ourselves into a little bunch, and launch her into her eighth decade on this planet. She’s always been full of piss and vinegar, of fire and brimstone, of little insecurities and quiet regret, but she’s healthy as a horse.

For a while, I wasn’t sure she’d go. First she was, and then she wasn’t. Elation, then dejection. Emails flying furiously across the miles, and phone calls that should have been on conference call with everyone involved throwing in their two cents. Angry words, less than pleasant thoughts, and depressing Google searches for “senior services” or “jobs for senior citizens” and “cheap rentals” filled our time.

Her desire to move to a place away from here and into a small home next to a big tree waned. It all became too large for her. She exhausted herself and us with it all. We ran out of ideas. Out of suggestions. Had no patience left for any of it.

Time came to the rescue like it always does. It passes more slowly than desired, forcing hard thought about choices. The act of planning is constructive, but at the same time a struggle with emotion always accompanies any decision made. Is this the right thing to do? Will I be okay? Who am I leaving behind? Will I regret this decision, or will it be the best I’ve ever made? I’ve always said I’ve wanted to go and never have. This is my chance…

I wish I could afford space on a billboard somewhere along a winding road that she might see which says, “Bon Voyage.” Or purchase a message to display across the silver surface of the Goodyear blimp, looming slowly over the horizon one day to encourage her along. Perhaps a plane to script a message in the sky to send love. But I can’t.

And I don’t quite know how to tell her how proud I am of her and her decision. That I wish the best for her and know that this is the very best thing for herself she has ever done. Ever.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

It has guided me for so many, many years and I wish it to carry you along as well.

You go, Mom! Kick butt and take names the entire freaking way. Find a hundred great places to write, “E Was Here.” Make your mark. Beep and wave at people you don’t know, just because you can. And absolutely make sure that you slam the door as hard as you possibly can on the way out.

No mooning, though. Kay?






15 responses to “And another one leaves Paradise.”

  1. I’m with ya sweety. Go Mom! More power to you. And to toss in the best wishes of my ancestors:

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  2. your mom sounds like my kinda lady… get up and go i say,, pedal to the metal…. and never look back……

  3. Loripea

    I’m not sure what to type. Your post made me cry, and I can’t explain it to my MOH because he just doesn’t get it.

  4. Jerry, you are so kind and thoughtful. I appreciate it and I know my mom would as well.

    Thanks, Paisley. She’s going to keep us posted along the way so I can write her adventures. It should prove to be very interesting for us all.

    Lori, I know. I had a really hard time writing this. I’ve struggled all day with trying to go out and say good bye, but I can’t. I’m completely weak like that. I’ve been a sad sack all day, and drifting around for two. She’s so cheerful and sounds very excited. She doesn’t need me to drag down her spirits. How can I gather a posse to crowd on the side of the road at 3 am…Douglas isn’t even home. Go figure about this state of affairs. I understand how you feel…

  5. I think your mom and my mom would get along well.

  6. Goldy, my mom is life waiting to happen on a regular basis. And she’d love a friend. She’s pretty intense, though, and not for the faint of heart. But she’d be a faithful friend.

  7. That’s cool. More power to her! My Dad always says he’s going to move to South Carolina so he can just play golf all the time, but he’ll never do it.

    And yes, we have lost touch since the days of Sunjaya! I could’ve sworn I had you in my blogroll, but I was fudging with my template not so long ago and I may have inadvertently deleted you. No matter. You were out, but I’ve pulled you back in.

  8. Hi! I just stumbled upon your site ! You are hilarious!
    I also live in Paradise (?). Your mom is gorgeous! I hope I look as good at almost 70. And I am with you: More power to her! I love what you said about the decision to move is finally hers… And also “the motley assortment of individuals who inhabit the community”–ha! Though, we are in different community, I so KNOW What you mean!
    I will come back and check in
    AND READ KITE RUNNER. Don’t save it til last. ONE of my ALL TIME favorite books! And I read alot!
    Good luck

  9. Hey Beckeye! Great to hear from you. Your dad could move here to Paradise. All they have here is retired folks and golf courses. Oh, and those palm trees. Send him right over…Thanks for the link. I’ll look forward to your keeping me abreast of all the news I’m in the dark about 🙂

    Hi, Sabine. I have some friends who have been pushing me to read The Kite Runner as well, so it is most likely next. I had a running start on The History of Love, but am not bogged down. If I’m too tired when it’s time for bed, I can only read for 3 seconds and then I forget what I’ve read. Thanks for all your kudos, and I’m glad you enjoyed!

  10. Ritzy

    Hi Kelly…
    What a beautiful entry… made me tear up. But remember how much you enjoyed VA this past spring – now you have more people to see & visit when you make your voyages this way! You’re Mom sounds just as fiesty as you – and I think you look a lot like her, I can totally see you in her, or her in you… whichever way that goes. 🙂 I hope they have a super Thema & Louise / Oprah & Gail xcountry adventure! So many awesome places to see, visit, etch in their names to let the world know they were there.

    So, get out there, enjoy that fabulous weather you’ve talked about, get some sunshine and swim through the kelp and unaccountable other floaties…. if it makes you any bit exicted.. my solo trip to SD is coming up! Woo hooo – can you say beach & burritos, sunsets & boardwalks, shrimp tacos, beachside farmers markets?

    Hang in there. Smile. Hugs.

  11. Ritzy

    ps- Just finished “Kite Runner” last week. Good, disturbing, but worth the read. Just started Anita Shreve’s new one, “Body Surfing”.

  12. Good.For.Her. *(what a wonderful post about your mother)*

  13. Hey Ritzy…I’m counting the days ’till you’re here. It’ll be a Mexican Food Beach fest. ‘Course I could talk you into a swim across that Cove…

    Yes, tears were in order yesterday. I was a blubbering mess by the time the MoH got home. *sigh* I am looking forward to doing the visits. I’ve never been able to do that before because everyone has lived here — including the MoH’s family.

    Hi Meleah — Thanks for your kind thoughts. I’m thinking I should have figured out where to get the “hat” your mom had on in that picture for my mom’s send off. Rally hat?

  14. OMG! Alfreda dna are in a motel somewhere over the rainbow, Toto. Your tribute made us both cry. Thanks for your love and encouragement. It had to be about someone else other than myself. You write beautifully!! Mom and Aunt

  15. Hey Mo and Al! You are so not in Kansas yet. I heard you were barfin’ and well…Uh…other stuff in that square state. Are you better? What did you eat? If you hang your head out of the car window too often, suckin/ up those bugs is going to have an adverse effect on your digestion, yanno? urp…

    Hugs to both of you. Don’t forget to make your mark.

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