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photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sure Is Quiet All of a Sudden

Yesterday morning at 7:30 the axis shifted a bit at our house.

Joe and his friend Karen pulled out of the yard for a month + trip to Wyoming and Montana, Molly happily slobbering out the back window.

As of tonight, they've landed in Wyoming, where they'll spend the next week or so before heading to Montana for the duration and the wedding of Joe's friends Bruce and Maryann before turning the truck south again.

It's always mildly alarming when Joe leaves. Like the silence you notice because some sort of background noise has stopped. Not that Joe lives in the background- he's very much a part of our family, of our home.

So much has changed since his last summer migration.

Last year we had just returned from our nightmare in Houston. He had single-handedly run the farm by himself, not a small feat and one he wasn't prepared for- we were supposed to be gone a mere week, not almost six. Ward was very weak and very thin and very fragile and even though Joe really really wanted (no- more like he needed) to escape for just a bit he stayed till he was sure we were going to be OK.

When he left, Ward was slowly mending, Alec and I were still shell shocked, we were foreseeably forever in our old beloved but hopelessly large and cluttered farmhouse and the new place was just a dream and a drawing on graph paper for all of us.

In the fall, he came home to a house being built and his cabin already delivered and set in place- waiting for him to finish out as he wanted to. Ward was stronger and gaining weight, Alec happier and I was focused with a fierceness on getting our log home up and us moved in...as though afraid it would all disappear if I didn't keep things in forward motion. Truth be known, I was afraid of that.

So he kept telling me this year he really didn't want to go- his heart's not in it anymore, this migration he's taken every summer and had planned on taking...forever.

I know a lot has to do with his little cabin- his place designed by him and for him- his Home. Where before Montana held his memories and his friends and all the trappings of Home for him almost 40 years deep, now that's shifted, with every wall erected and every picture hung just a little farther south with each vestige of a nest until now he visits up yonder, but he lives...here.

The last few days have seen some "issues" arise with our blood relations- issues that have made us sad but resigned, mourning with a veneer of acceptance.

I made the comment at the dinner table last night (one chair obviously empty) that "Sometimes families just suck" to Alec, who doesn't understand why we're estranged from people who share our blood- like most children he takes it inside and assumes guilt, which he knows is irrational, but that's humans for ya.

Without missing a beat, he piped up defensively, "Not Joe- Joe doesn't suck and HE'S family". I started to explain that like other people we love and have taken to our hearts as Family, Joe's not "really" our relation, but he knows that. He remembers that Joe shares no family tree with us, that he literally pulled into the yard one day out of the interwebs- no stork brought him to us.

We have family.

We have friends.

We have friends who are truly considered Family.

And we have just two who ARE Family- Jordan and Joe.

Jordan is overseas working for at least a year, and Alec skypes and emails and chats and holds onto his brother as best he can.

Joe is in the frozen northlands (really- he said there's snow on the mountains yet) till early July- not September or October as in the past. I'm thinking he's coming home sooner mainly because considering all the changes made LAST year while he was gone, he's askeerd of what may happen this time.

Hurry Home, Joey- Your Family misses you. And I promise not to make any changes to your place while you're gone...trust me.

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