Sunday, May 15, 2011

Loaded Up and Gone

Well, we made it!

Donna and I picked up a Budget rental truck Wednesday, and with the help of a friend were able to load it that afternoon. Our 2-vehicle convoy left Kilgore at 4:30 on Thursday morning.

I'm pretty proud of us. Although we did get some help loading the truck, Donna and I had already loaded the fridge, freezer, washer, guest room bed, and entertainment center before help arrived. I must admit, though, that I was glad to get some help. By the end of the day, I was pretty beat.

A couple of weeks before we moved, I splurged and bought a furniture dolly and a heavy duty hand truck. I have not regretted these purchases at all. These 2 items did all the heavy work for me. And since I will have to come back once more and move our furniture out of storage into our new home, the cost of buying them probably is about the same as renting them twice.

Moving like this brings back lots of memories for me. Donna and I were married on May 26, 1977. I was just completing my undergraduate degree (BAT) and had been invited to continue on at Sam Houston State University to serve as a teaching assistant while working on my Master's. Those 2 years (from 1977 to 1979) were great, and we loved our lifestyle. And that, in itself, is odd. We were barely able to make ends meet and we had very few possessions. We lived in a small efficiency cabin in the woods about 5 miles outside Huntsville. The living area, bedroom, and kitchen were all in a single room. We had a single closet, and you had to pass through the bathroom to get to it. We were on well water, and it stained the walls in the bathroom because of the high sulphur content. But we had as much enjoyment then as just about any other time in our lives. This theme reverberates to the recent posting regarding whether we own our possessions or they own us -- what does it really take for people to be happy?

After I completed my graduate degree, it was time to move on since SHSU did not offer a PhD in English. I secured a position teaching English in Olton, a small town about 50 miles northwest of Lubbock. At the time, I had hoped to continue my studies at Texas Tech, but that wish would never materialize. When it came time to move out there, we rented a U-Haul truck, loaded it with hand-me-down furniture donated by various family members, and our little 2-vehicle convoy wound its way up to the Caprock of Texas. In the first big move of our lives, we were completely alone; I do not have the words to describe how exciting that time in our lives was. Now, once again, we find ourselves making this move alone. And I like that. It brings a certain symmetry to our lives. But this time, instead of beginning our lives, we are bringing our time to a close.

We arrived in San Angelo about 1:00 PM on Thursday and began unloading our belongings into a storage room we had rented for a short term (our new house will not be ready for at least another month). After about 4 hours of unloading the truck on our own, though, we realized we needed help. Donna called our son-in-law and asked if he could come down the next day to help finish. As much as I hate asking for help, I must admit I am grateful she did this. I was simply worn out and had no strength left in my arms.

Michael arrived the next day, and we were able to finish unloading the truck and packing the store room in about 3 hours. We then turned the truck in, picked up our trailer, and set up our temporary home at Spring Creek Marina and RV Park.

While waiting for our house to be completed, we'll spend our time taking early morning walks along Lake Nasworthy and Spring Creek, and we'll explore historic downtown San Angelo. We'll walk along the North Concho River as it winds through downtown San Angelo, separating the old downtown area from Fort Concho. As we wend our way through these areas, I'll think about Elmer Kelton, who wrote so accurately about life in this part of Texas.

Elmer Kelton: Western Writer and Gentleman
San Angelo is a great town, and we're looking forward to becoming members of the community. As I've said before, life is good. We invite our friends to journey west to spend some time with us. We'll leave the light on for you.

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