This account of my life is in no way intended to insult, berate or denigrate anyone at all. It is an attempt by me to tell a story, to possibly resolve issues in my own life and lend a bit of inspiration to others who may have similar issues in their lives, to find solutions for their problems as well.
Ok, so I have set the mood for this last entry of ‘Hitting The Streets.’
This last part is all about moving to Georgia.
Now my home, now the life for me.
Ok, dispossession was now behind me, but not by much. I had an apartment. A computer, and a home. A job to support everything with. A regular pay check again. Not a cent in the bank. The rest just comes along with the bow on the package. The guys at Erickson were good to work for, and they were really good to me. We had good hours, no one standing over us, profit sharing, paid overtime, vacation pay or vacation days. I couldn’t ask for a better job. Well I could, but this was the best offer to me in a long time.
The first night I had my computer, as I said, I was up till forever in the morning, and many nights were the same for about a month. The first night, I had online chats going with five people at a time. The very first night. I loved it. I looked for mountain bikers in the Everett area. Didn’t find many, but it was fun to do. I looked through dating sites for people looking for nothing more than biking, I looked at local mountain bike club sites. I guess I should say that I am a bicyclist and have been since I could reach the saddle of a bike. One day I was getting my bike worked on at Tim’s Bikes in Everett, WA. Another bicyclist was in there just looking around, hanging out. Bike shops are preferred places of “hang outtage.” So we struck up a conversation. He asked me “Why do you use this, that, what are the advantages, yada, yada.” We introduced ourselves. “I’m Kelly.” “I’m Eric Favorite.” “Wanna climb some hills?” “K.” We climbed hills for three years. I got to know his future wife, his friends, his cat. Eventually he asked me about my Bible thumping ways. I told him. One day he called me and said, “Hey man, I’m a Bible thumper. It just happened a couple of minutes ago.” I got on my bike, flew the six blocks to his apt. and ran up to him and kissed him directly on the lips. Yep.
These are the two closest friends I had to leave behind when I moved from Everett to Ringgold. Since October of 2001 when I left, Eric and Tina had married, have a daughter then a son and have moved back to their home state of New Hampshire. I have lost contact with Bill. I am in the process of making contact with him through the bike shop where we all used to hang out in Everett. I have hope that I’ll talk to Bill again.
I have outlined my computer experience in short. Now I will uncover how it ties in to my relocation to Georgia.
As I said earlier, I met my wife online just two days before my mother passed. I never got to tell her I had met someone in such a contemporary manner. We were 2,615 miles apart when we met. I was looking for someone to bike with. I had been biking with men, which was fine, but there was a side of it which was also a bit undesirable. At different times, I would be out with groups of men, which was great. Regardless of who you may be biking with, you are still biking. That’s always good, to a degree. Many times on the trail with a group of men a woman on a bike would pass us. Everyone was very nice and agreeable as she passed. “Hi. Nice day.” A soon as she was out of earshot, nasty comments were made. I always thought of how beautiful women were and was very repulsed by those comments, as well as the men who made the comments. This led to me not really wanting to ride with groups of men. Additionally, it seemed that relating stories of bedroom conquests was a very acceptable topic for conversation. These men would relate their experiences with their girlfriends or wives to the rest of the group in very distinct detail. I often wondered how appropriate that would be had the women the stories were about were to be on the trail with us. I highly doubt that the women would have wanted to hear it or even join in the conversation. I finally quit riding with any more than two people at a time. Two other guys was fine. Hence, Bill and Eric won the toss.
Now, armed with a new computer (to me at least) I was ready to conquer the internet. I ran a free ad on the site http://www.dating.com. They are no longer on the web, or not what they were back then, but they were free. Remember now, and no concessions, I was looking for a mountain biking situation, and yes, hopefully with a woman. I had no intention of initiating any intimacy, just riding. True story. I was enjoying having my life, my schedule and biking all to myself after having lived in a prison of being homeless, or dispossessed as I prefer to call it. If I were to find a lady to bike with, I didn’t want to sacrifice any freedom I had at the time to do what I chose to do at any time I wanted to. I didn’t want anyone else to have to deal with that, either. There would only be hurt feelings.
So I used my computer to look around. Six months after placing the ad in dating.com I got a hit. It was from a woman in GA. of all places. It was January 27th of 2001. She called herself Lucy. (One of her cats was actually named Lucy. The woman was Melissa but preferred to be called by her middle name of Joy.) We chatted through Yahoo Messenger. On the 29th, two days after our first virtual contact, my mother passed away, as I said earlier. While I was at work, Monday the 27th, I was out on a delivery for Erickson and my brother stopped by the store to give me the news that mom had passed. When I got back to the shop later in the afternoon, Clay, my superior, called me into his office, shut the door, sat me down and gave me the news. I went numb. I didn’t know what to think. He told me I could take the day off. I went to my brother’s house, which was only a few blocks away and sat and talked with Kevin about this. The next time I chatted with Joy, she detected that something was amiss. I wanted so badly to just come out and tell her what I had just gone through, but I didn’t want to trouble her with a death in my family after meeting her just two days earlier. Think about it, how many cheesy men meet someone on the web and throw a hard luck story on the plate just to try to scam the woman out of money, house, jewelry, whatever they figure they can get. I DID NOT want Joy to feel sorry for me.
I got online, opened the chat window, eventually she showed up. We started talking about the day, three hours later there, and so on. She told me I was different from the day before. She finally got it out of me. We read some scripture, she gave me her phone number. I called her. I cried. She gave me comfort. I knew right then that I wanted to spend my life with her. She had reached out to me. She trusted me. She was compassionate. She didn’t put her self before anyone else. I wanted that in my life. No one I had met before ever showed me that they had that in them, or that they even cared to understand what that means. Joy was ‘the one.’ We both knew it. Over the next eight months we texted each other, phoned, snail mailed, Yahoo chatted, Emailed and built a friendship. We got to know all about each other. I told my chums and staff at work that I had found “her.” They joked and chided me, which I could understand. I laughed about it with them, but this was the ‘one.’ It sounded rather strange that I would consider someone I had met on the internet over 2,000 miles away could be someone I wanted to marry. I can say right now that it sounds insane. But still, I knew what I felt and moved ahead with plans to do something about it.
In August of 2001 I took my paid vacation of seven days and headed for Ringgold, GA. to meet my future wife. She picked me up in Dalton, and we were on our way. We spent the week seeing all the sites that were offered in Chattanooga and Dalton. Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City, and everything in between. We decided on our next move which would be for me to move myself and my life to Georgia. It was a done deal.
I flew back to Everett, got hounded by everyone about what all went on, showed them all the photos I had taken, told them all the juicy tidbits. One of the sales people, Isbel, was from Alabama and was happy that I was moving to “the south.” I have to say that I was, indeed, a bit apprehensive, but I went through with it. I approached my employer, Mark Erickson, who had been waiting since my return from my vacation, and sat him down and told him, “I’m gone.” He was happy for me, as were the rest of the staff. So, I gave Mark and Clay a two-week notice. They said I could leave earlier if I wanted to. I accepted their offer. I rented a U-Haul, packed it to the hilt and spent a week driving the 2,615 miles to Ringgold, and on October 9, 2002, I set foot on Georgia soil, destined to become a Georgia resident and citizen.
I rented an apartment on Cloud Springs Road in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. Not really a nice place, but it was my first living space in a strange new land. I had a shower, living room, two bedrooms upstairs, water and internet. In the eight months that I lived there, they never did come out to turn on the gas. I can’t remember who ‘they’ were but ‘they’ were the local natural gas company/utility. I called them again and again to set up appointments so I could be there. They never gave me a definite date that they would be there for me. I finally gave up. By this time, Joy and I were two months away from marrying which would be May 4th 2002. I was always baffled that I was actually doing this, but I had no reservation. I was 48 years old, no children, no divorces. Joy was 42 years old, no children, no divorces. What better of a match. We both had all of the same likes, common courtesies, the whole “ball of wax.”
Well, we got married, I let my apartment go and moved in to her house. We took our honeymoon down in Savannah, GA. It was wonderful. We saw Fort Pulaski, played around on River St. which is the prime of the city. Food, boats, festivals, drinks and plenty to see. Vast amounts of history. We recently returned for our tenth year anniversary. We stayed six days. The first annual “Tall Ships Challenge” was taking place that week, which was the first week of May 2012. It was just as memorable as our honeymoon. The Marriott Riverfront Hotel treated us like royalty.
We now adopt cats and dogs when an empty space in our select group comes open. Our current collection is as follows; Dogs/Jaco-Spaniel and something mix, Elvis-Black Labrador Retriever and something mix, Milo-Basset Hound and something mix, all neutered males. Cats/Coco, Checkers and Darth. All spayed females. Sadly, one dog has been stolen, two have passed due to Parvo infections and one while undergoing a surgical procedure. One was over night, the other was while I was transporting her to the vet. I didn’t get there soon enough, and maybe would not have healed Suzi regardless. I took her from a guy who had her penned in a small 6′ x 3′ x 3′ cage. Inhumane to say the least. He approached me because he couldn’t watch her correctly. I agreed and saved her for a week. I think little Suzi had already been doomed not to survive. We used to allow our cats to run the neighborhood, but that turned out to be a less than wise situation. Unlike where I had moved from, cats out here in the south pass readily as targets for local vigilante cat hunters. Real gems of society. I’m not sure what happened to my Joshua, I brought him from Everett all the way to Ringgold. He was about three years old when I came out here and we had him for at least three more years here. He was a wonderful friend. He would fetch, but only metal bottle caps.
Well, I’ve gone from just graduating from high school to being married and living in another part of the United States which I never thought I would see. What is there to get out of this story? What is there to walk away with? I don’t know what it would be for you, but certainly for me, never take your current circumstances for granted. Gain from what you are doing that you may pass knowledge and wisdom on to others. You can say “Well, I would never settle for that.” If that is the case, when you find yourself in ‘that’ situation, do something about it, and if you find a solution, which you undoubtedly will, pass that knowledge on to others who may be in the same predicament or situation. Never hoard anything that can be helpful to others. The second most important bit of change I went through is never to judge people to the point of dismissing them. Never judge them regardless. As much as you may think you can control what happens to you or what circumstances you may fall victim to, you do not have control over such. If ‘control’ means you stay in the house 24/7, avoid all contact with other people, fine, but is that a life? Of course, the very last situation that we go through is what none of us have control over, and that is inevitable.
The four parts of this long story I have just written are certainly what I have been through in my life, at least since I was around 18 years old to just a month ago. From 2001 to 2012 my life has been very normal. I have picked up my drumsticks again, which has been very revitalizing. It has allowed me to meet many musicians in the Chattanooga area, which has been a good experience. I’ve been off for the last year, taking care of things I have put off for years, but am just about to start back up again with some new ideas. There is a lady vocalist I want to work with whom I worked with just a year ago. Dynamic, easy on the eyes, funny, exciting personality and good character.
Well, until something comes along that I want to write about and stick on the end of this story, that’s about all I have to pass on to whom-ever for now. This story was not written to insult or uplift, denigrate or empower, but if you gain something good out of what I have written, good for you. We all find little jewels in places we never would have considered looking. I know I have.
God bless and stay happy,
June 16, 2012.