November 5, 2007
I've got so much to do in packing to leave Fairhope that it's too bad all I can think of is my own toe. A friend admonished, "Quit whining! It's only a toenail!" but I must say of everybody who heard about this surgery situation he is the only one who couldn't manage even a sympathetic swift intake of breath between the front teeth in empathizing the pain of toenail removal.
Every move I make is dictated by the raw meat that stands where there once was a proud and beautiful toenail. Yesterday I dropped a stack of catalogues I was transferring to the recycle bin on the toe. I also hit that foot against the unnoticed metal bottom of the bed when showing the room in the garage to potential buyers of my house. I was carrying silverware from the dishwasher to the drawer when a knife hit the floor, barely missing the toe. I have become temporarily obsessed with this little square inch of my body. I am grieving the toenail, big time.
But I am planning the move anyway. I contacted the airline on the Internet and reserved my one-way flight. I am assembling moving cartons and looking at them, growing more anxious by the minute. Not anxious that I might be making a mistake, but anxious that I'm making such a big change.
Then there is the matter of saying goodbye. My friends are conferring: How are we to allow this? One wrote the other, "What shall we do when ML leaves, big toe and all. A font of information is gone!!!!" and the other forwarded that comment to me in an email.
He who received the "font of info" email wrote back, "Having met her as we did, and her accepting me and [my wife] as we are, makes her very special to me. Somehow, otherwise we would have never crossed paths. Like her blog intro says, a brainy woman ready for adventure, open to many things. I have not a clue really why she puts up with me, but I have enjoyed it for five or six years. I will miss having the opportunity to be in her company occasionally, and the hope of working together again. She's gotta go, ya know. So far there is none other and may never be. So, me reading a blog and her making rare posts will be something. And, do without,
I guess. [The wife, a Fairhope native] and her growing up friends that are here know stuff but not in the same sorta way, the organic way. She'll have her toe with her, nail or not, seeking new adventure in new surroundings more to her liking."
I suddenly felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz , getting in that balloon with Toto and realizing what she was leaving behind. Was this friend my Wizard, or my cowardly lion? Not the scarecrow or the tin man, I am certain of that. But I could see my group of friends in all those roles. And I remembered being quoted in a newspaper interview when I first returned to Fairhope 19 years ago, saying, "I feel like Dorothy returning from Oz -- there's no place like home!"
Now Fairhope is Oz, and I'm getting in the balloon which has Delta written on its side at the Pensacola airport on November 30, to take off for unknown lands as well as known ones.
I would be abnormal indeed if I didn't have some apprehension amid the excitement of change coupled with the rush of a new phase of my life all at once. I'll have a sore toe, but I can deal with that. I'll have a lot of new tasks to face, and I can deal with them too even with the toe condition.
But what will I do when I'm looking for a familiar face among all the new ones? What will happen in Hoboken to diminish the magic of Fairhope?
Where have all the munchkins gone?