Hello, I must be going.

Thank you, North Carolina. You’ve been good to me. I’m pretty sure I’ve returned the favor, but I’m glad to be gone. We’ve each changed over the past 40-odd years. You’ve given me lifelong friends and memories of truly wonderful experiences. But over the past few years your arrogant, selfish political meanness has shown a dark side of yourself I can no longer tolerate.

A few days ago I sold my last business in the state. I’ll soon be filing my final tax return with you. I’m glad my tax dollars will no longer be supporting a racist, power-grabbing, misogynistic legislature. I’m sad to be leaving so many friends and compatriots still in the trenches, trying to reclaim the decency and civility that made you such a wonderful place – a place I used to be proud to call home. My old home was sheltered in one of those urban blue dots you myopically see as a blemish on your gerrymandered crimson maps. One of those places that drive your economic engine. If you’d been a bit more tolerant you might still be getting my money.

In the beginning our separation wasn’t intentional, it was a temporary parting like several others we’ve had through the years. You always had my roots and I always returned. This time it’s different. It’s been almost four years to the day since I sold my North Carolina home to begin a new life. Now I’ve cut the last physical and financial ties that bound me to you. My path through the future is looking good and you’re not a part of it. I doubt you’ll miss me. I know I won’t miss the embarrassment of an association with you.

Am I abandoning my past? Of course not. My past is the foundation I’ve built that’s allowing me to take this step. The people, places, good, bad and ugly parts of my life have made me who I am. They’ve created ties to wonderful friends who I’ll stay in touch with in my future. Your landscape is beautiful and welcoming – as are nearly all of the people I’ve come to know there through the years. But something’s changed. A spirit of tolerance, of disagreeing in an agreeable manner and a willingness to compromise in the spirit of friendship and respect – they’ve all evaporated into teenage bullying that never questions why something should or shouldn’t be done as long as it guarantees a juvenile grip on power.

I’m not running away from home, I’m walking comfortably into a wonderful future that just doesn’t include you. Because life isn’t about where you’ve been, it’s where you are and where you’re going.

Thanks for the memories.

16 Comments on “Hello, I must be going.

    • In one way, so do I. I still recall an election where some neighbors walked to our local polling place with their appropriately colored dog, who was wearing a dog-coat with the words “yellow dog” on it.

  1. Amen brother. I share your sentiments. I’m comforted by the knowledge that our friendship knows no boundaries.

    • Looking forward to seeing you one of these days – over a pint of Murphy’s or a glass of your favourite Italian red.

  2. Congrats on the sale, and keep coming back to visit! ❤️

    • It was great seeing you and Mike again. When will you be making it across the pond?

  3. Well stated! We’ll be in the trenches; fighting the good fight. This too shall pass; history is on our side. Glad we got to spend some time with you while you were on this side of the pond.

    • Hope that the history comes sooner, rather than later.

  4. I understand. I feel like we’re left here to try to carry on some form of dignity, if not for the sake of the beloved land and trees and friends that we have made. I hope to someday visit you in your new world.

    What has happened is ugly and crude and the bullies have taken their place. It’s happening all over the states, but mostly the south and middle. In Texas the Governor just passed a law that allow open carry of long swords! SWORDS?

    I have this work I’d like to share with you and friends that came out in a night after watching the news. If it is too much, or too long, my apologies. Just delete it. Blessings to you.

    This Shiver of Time

    This moment in time flashes before me as
    People say those sixties marches
    And work we did and fought for
    Were nothing like this…
    And that we don’t know the pain.
    Well some of us do.
    It was like this, it was even worse,
    But there were no recordings, no cell phone cameras
    Or videos to mark off the lives and beatings.
    No 24-hour news cycle to show the evil.

    Back Then:
    I watched the old man blocked at the
    Door because he was black, and to those
    Red-faced few who called him a filthy animal.
    He bowed his head and tried to explain that
    He was thirsty and had money.

    Pushing him out the door, the other men
    Laughed as he stumbled but managed to
    Right himself and move away.

    Peering out the window
    I saw him, head bowed, walking away.
    He was draped in sunset
    With a red slash on his old
    Brown coat, and it was glowing.

    It was then I knew I had to march.
    We saw the hoses and felt them turned on
    All of us…no record then
    But our memories of those days,
    Running and running
    To not be carted away in
    Some wagon they had
    To make us white,
    black, and red protestors
    Disappear into the night.

    We were young, but we knew right from wrong.
    Yes, It was different then.
    Almost no one witnessed it.
    This repeated uproar of man’s inhumanity to
    His fellow man,
    Marked with blood and guns
    Beatings and deaths, was hidden away.

    The times have changed little
    But the carnage now is seen clearly by many.
    Recorded en masse, each one carrying a
    Proof and fact to share, a camera, no hiding
    Evil actions by the darkness

    We had none of that.
    Only songs sung loud in groups.
    “We shall overcome…some day.”
    We were skin and bone against the clubs
    And hoses fighting for a cause we could not
    Win, except by numbers and will.

    This shiver of time, this day,
    Careening by…as the leader now
    Creates no change, no call for peace,
    but incites new chaos daily, as millions
    Watch in despair and defiance. Tick Tock.

    I thought I saw her today.
    I watched her Majesty,
    The Statue of Liberty
    As she picked up her dress and walked solemnly
    Into the sea.

    SLHR ©- August. 19, 2017


    • Thank you, Sherrie. For your comments – and for your beautiful poem. I hope it reaches many more people.

  5. Perhaps one day I’ll venture across the pond, till then you are missed. Thankful for your Blog….

    • There’s a bar stool with your name on it waiting for you [I’ll buy the first round] – and lots of theatres that could use your touch. See you one of these days.

  6. You are a good man and I certainly understand your feelings. You have done a lot for people in need and I am proud to call you my friend. Take care of yourself and continue to share your thoughts with us who are stuck!

    • George, you’re one of the people I particularly miss. Not sure when I’ll be back in your part of the world, but I’m looking forward to the day you start home deliveries. Stay safe and dry as Irma makes her way north.

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