I was really looking forward to getting out of McCook for awhile. I hadn't been out of town since my son Will visited me last summer and we took the train to Denver so my excitement was high. I was a little concerned about the roads since I left only a couple of days after our blizzard but, as usual, the toughest part of driving was getting out of town. Once I was on the highway, it was clear sailing all the way to Arkansas.
Linda's a creature of habit so she had ribs, cole slaw, baked beans and Texas toast waiting on me when I got there like she always does. I sat down at the dining room table with her and our two boys and their wives and we had a great time sharing and reconnecting while we ate. I woke up the next morning to discover that Arkansas had been placed in a winter storm watch for Christmas day so that was exciting news. Russellville had a white Christmas 25 years ago or so but Little Rock hadn't had one since 1928 so everybody was excited but skeptical. Conditions have to be just right to produce a snow storm and the further south you are in the U.S., the less likely that is to happen. But it did this time. It started snowing early afternoon and by nightfall, Russellville had 4 to 6 inches on the ground. Little Rock ended up with 10 ½ inches and Morrilton, a town 25 miles to our east, took the state honors with 16 inches. On top of that, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Northeast Arkansas, the first time in history that any part of Arkansas had ever been in a blizzard warning. It was an exciting time because we had nowhere we had to go, so we sat in front of Linda's huge picture window, sipped on some wine and watched it snow.
On Friday, we drove up to Bentonville to Will and Erica's house and it started snowing there the second we pulled in their driveway and they ended up with their first measurable snowfall of the winter too.
While in Arkansas, we saw three movies that have since been nominated for Academy Awards and the one that blew me away was Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis's star turn as the title character. The greatest performances are when actors become so enmeshed in their roles that it doesn't appear they're acting at all and that's exactly what Day-Lewis did. Not only was Lincoln the best movie I've seen this year, it's the best movie I've EVER seen and even though there are several movies nominated for best picture that I didn't get to see, my money's on Lincoln to grab the best picture Academy award and Day-Lewis to be named best actor.
As always, despite the wonderful time I had with my family, I was just as anxious to get back home as I was to leave and so I pulled out of Will and Erica's driveway at nine Saturday morning. I usually go through Tulsa to I-35 and then north to Wichita but Will found a shorter route when he drove back home after spending time with me last summer and he suggested I go that way too. I always like to do new things and go places I haven't been before so I took him up on it. He gave me excellent directions but I didn't follow them correctly and got lost twice, once in Joplin and the second time in Wichita. There were only minor delays because of it and the only downside was the drive was a little longer than going the way I usually go. But, like they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I got home about 7:30 and as I was unpacking the car, it struck me that as anxious as I was a week earlier to get out of McCook, I was just as anxious to get back. Linda and I aren't married anymore so even though she does everything she can to make me feel at home, it's HER home, not mine and that always makes a difference. In my own apartment, I can dress like I like, watch the television shows I want to watch when I want to watch them, work on the computer, eat what I like when I want to eat it, and go to bed and get up when I please as well. And all of that is comforting to me.
Linda asked me if I didn't get terribly lonely sometimes because she often does and I replied that I do but not nearly as often as her.
I miss having someone to share my life with and someone who cares more about me than they do anyone else but those chances were missed earlier and now I know I'll never have that again. So we can either brood about the past and lose the present in doing so or we can look to the future.
I choose to do the latter.