Home to Big Stone Gap

A cemetery with many tombstones in the background.

The novel I completed last week titled “Home to Big Stone Gap†said that when mountain people die they are “taking a dirt napâ€. Now, I was raised a stone’s throw from there and I have never heard of that. I must say, I prefer that expression more than any other I have heard. Whenever I think of it though, I do chuckle a little. Mom and Dad are buried in a crypt above ground. I guess they would be taking a “tunnel napâ€? Jerilyn and I plan on being cremated. I guess we would be taking a “hot napâ€, or, a “nap in a jugâ€? Maybe, an Urned nap? Aw, shucks! I could have all kinds of fun with this subject!

On October 1st I celebrated 1 year of retirement. I must say it still seems a little strange not getting up every morning and going to work. Somehow, I keep feeling this gravy train is going to smash into a brick wall, but each time it plows right on thru and comes out on the other side, intact and as good as ever. Jerilyn and I were setting at the breakfast table the other morning and, as I looked out the window that gives us a panoramic view of the water, I said to her “You know, we are living the good life. Both of us are in good health, we have just about anything we want and we are free to travel and enjoy lifeâ€. I would like to say that we worked all our lives to get to this point and that we deserve it, but, I would be amiss if I failed to acknowledge our many blessing from The Lord. I know he has the power to change our life at any time. I read a sign on a church the other day that said: “The party in hell has been cancelled because of fireâ€. I pray each day that God does not cancel our party.

I returned from Tennessee last Sunday. I drove the pickup truck out to my son’s (Rusty) house. He is moving back to Virginia and I went out to help him and visit the rest of my family out there. I was able to spend some quality time with my three granddaughter and two great granddaughters. Other family members added to the joy of the visit. I listened to my audio books on the way out and my son kept me company on the way back. I must say it feels very good to have him close by. It has been 15 years since both my children have been so close that I could jump in the truck and be at their home within 15-20 minutes. During the ride back from his home (2 days) we talked a lot. Each of us had a captive audience. He is a good boy. I am always amazed at what floats around in that head of his.

I have been taking Vytorin for cholesterol for several months now. I started in June, stopped in July because of pain in both hip joints, then restarted it two weeks later. I had my blood test the other day and the results are not back yet. I think I am going to stop taking the medication. The hip pain is back and will not go away. I am still able to run 5 miles 3 days a week but it is a struggle. Over the last several years I have tried several “statins†and each have caused some type of pain. I plan on talking to my doctor before I quit.

Our next trip commences on October 15th and takes us to the great state of California. Our plane lands in Los Angeles, where we will be met by two good friends (Jerilyn’s cousin Phyllis, and husband John). We have been talking about visiting them for years and we are looking forward to it with great anticipation. We will also visit a childhood friend of mine (Brenda, and husband Vyron) that I have only seen once within the last 50 years. I have never been to CA. My closest trip was to Phoenix, AZ in 1991. In 1962-63 I was stationed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and one of the pilots there told me “I fly to the east coast and to the west coast. The prettiest women in this country are on the west coast!†I will be lookin’ to see if that is indeed a fact. We haven’t told Jerilyn’s mother of our trip yet. She frets so much when we go away that we always wait until 2-3 days before we leave. Each time we leave to go somewhere she thinks we will get killed before we return and she will be left alone with no one to look after her. She has two grandsons that would step up to the plate if needed. Somehow, she chooses to ignore that little fact. Jerilyn lives in constant fear that a reader of my weekly missive will tell her mother before we do. I have assured her that all my readers know how to keep a secret. I think I am the one most likely to let the cat out of the bag. That has almost happened several times before. The two week trip to Alaska in July 2006 comes to mind.

Thanks for reading my weekly missive.