Sunday, July 1, 2012

That Restless Spirit

Donna and I are cursed with a restless spirit. We just can't seem to stay in one place very long.

Fortunately, our daughter, Courtney, does not seem to have inherited that restlessness from us. She and her husband Michael (and our grandson Alexander) live in Michael's hometown surrounded by Michael's family. They seem quite content there, and I'm happy for them. I think they will be there for years to come.

Donna and I, on the other hand, seem condemned to wander from place to place every few years. But we've seen a lot of the world that way.

My father was an educator, and as he climbed the ranks from classroom teacher to principal to superintendent, we moved around. So, I spent much of my childhood roaming among small towns of central and eastern Texas (Fairfield, Mexia, Rosebud, Elgin, and back to Fairfield). I guess I can blame Dad for my restless spirit.

After graduating high school, I attended Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. I loved it there so much that I stayed on for an additional 2 years as an assistant instructor while working on my Master's. If SHSU had offered a doctorate in my field, I probably would have found some way to stay on a bit longer. It was in Huntsville that Donna and I met and married. Once I had my MA degree in hand, Donna and I headed to far West Texas, out past Lubbock, to the small town of Olton where I began my teaching career in earnest. We often blame that move for the start of our restlessness. While in Huntsville (Sam Houston), we were near both our families and we were content, but once we moved, we seemed to just keep on moving.

Over the years, we've gone from Olton to Saudi Arabia, to Wellman, Texas (near Lubbock), back to Saudi Arabia, to Jacksonville, Texas (near Tyler), to Ozona, Texas, (near San Angelo) to Midland, Texas, to Longview and Kilgore Texas, and back to West Texas once again to San Angelo. We seem to keep criss-crossing the state. Now we're pulling up stakes again, and we have that old excitement we had when we were just two young kids venturing out to the unknown.

I'm not sure what we're looking for. We take something from each place we live. Doing so really makes it harder to find a place to settle. When we go to East Texas, we find ourselves missing the big sky, wide open spaces, and low humidity of West Texas. When we're in West Texas, we find ourselves missing the colors of fall and spring that East Texas enjoys, as well as those drenching rains. Wherever we are, we find ourselves longing for something we've enjoyed some other place. The grass always seems greener on the other side of that fence, you know.

I don't know if we will ever be happy in one place. We may wander this planet until we drop dead from old age or exhaustion. The trip so far surely has been great, though.

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