Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making Lemonade

Bart's funeral was in northern North Carolina. For those of you who don't know, I grew up in central Virginia, even though I claim Boston. Where I'm from and where home is are two very different things. 

Anyway! I haven't been back to the town where I grew up in about 12 years. Which means there is an entire section of my life about which Lithus knows nothing. Also, Lithus and I met in person in Suffolk, Virginia, while he was logging the Dismal Swamp of North Carolina. If you don't know that story, it's a good one and you can read it here. We always said we would go back there one day. 

Adventures are what we do. Spur of the moment stuff. Road trips. What's the worst that can happen? How bad can it be? It's who we are. So...

First, we drove to Suffolk and checked into the hotel where we met. 

From Suffolk, we drove to Lynchburg. I showed him where I grew up, I took him to the college where my dad worked, and introduced him to my grandfather.

And I thought I could sneak in and out without seeing anyone. I was wrong. Once there, I realized I had to look up three people:

That teacher:

Grandma Carol (I have a wonderful picture of her, but didn't get her permission to post it, so won't). Just as I wrote in that linked post, I walked up to the door, completely unannounced, rang the bell, and was welcomed in with open arms.

And Jerry. Technically, Jerry was our mechanic. My dad always said when you moved to a new town, you found a doctor, a banker, and a mechanic. So, in 1977-ish, we met Jerry. I was eight. By the time I was in my early 30s (the last time I saw him), he had practically helped raise me. He attended my wedding to the SGM and the funeral of my father. At 19, I was out far too late one night, when I picked a tail of a group of rednecks. I didn't want to lead them home, but didn't know where else to go. At that time, the only place that was open all night was the 7-11, so I pulled in there, figuring I would call my dad. I walked in, and there was Jerry, working the overnight to make a little extra money. I explained the situation and he reached under the counter, and pulled out a crowbar. He walked me out to my car, told me to get in and "go straight home." He then planted himself behind the car of rednecks, with his crowbar, and explained "she's going home now; you're gonna stay here with me for a bit." I went straight home. Whenever I was in town, his garage was my first stop. I would make the other mechanics crazy because I would walk in like I owned the place, completely disregarding the "EMPLOYEES ONLY" signs posted in all the bays. I would yell, "Jerry! How the hell is my favorite mechanic?!" And he would come over, wiping his hands on his rag, grinning, saying "Hi beautiful!" and hug me. When Lithus and I would talk about going back to Lynchburg, I would tell him that we needed to, because he had to meet Jerry ~ and that was really the only reason.

The other day, I didn't walk in like I owned the place. I peeked on the employees board to make sure his name was even still there. Then I very politely asked a mechanic if Jerry was around today. He was. I called out "Jerry..." then stopped with the patter. It has been a long time. Instead I waited for him to crawl out from the inside of the car he was working on, and said "Jerry, I'm Boston Pobble. Do you remem..." and he stopped me. "I remember." At which point, I fell into his arms. We clung and wept and I don't really remember much, because I was just too glad to see him.

"Hi, Beautiful."
So much more than just a mechanic

There were so many tears this week. So much clinging and weeping. And yet, at least three times, with these three people, the clinging and weeping were from joy. The adventure continues...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.