Thursday, May 11, 2006

Memory Lane

Greetings from North Carolina.

Finally got here and got past my jet lag. The good news is that my father's high speed internet connection works with my lap top. The bad news is that it is supposed to rain today. This is going to put a crimp in our plans to play golf. Which is something I have been really looking forward to, given that I have not played a different course for months.

As for the trip here, the less said the better. Delta proved to me once again that setting low standards of service and then failing to meet them is the norm for american run airlines these days. No wonder they are in bankruptcy. Let me give you guys a tip, don't give me drink coupons......it insults my intelligence. Just serve me drinks-for free. If that means you have to add 25 dollars to the ticket price, then do so. But stop giving me that "look" just because I want an alcoholic beverage or 4 in a vain attempt to sleep in your hard back seats. What, of course, makes this trip even more disgusting is remembering back to my trip on Asiana just 6 short weeks ago when the stewardess actually had a rear end that did not require a shoe horn to get through the aisle, made return trips after dinner and even smiled -a lot. Not to worry there was none of that on Delta. "We have to fly and it shows!".

Having made our connection through the obstacle course that is Atlanta's airport, we arrived here in not so sunny North Carolina and made it up to my parents house. I have the S.O. with me which I know will be a mistake in the long run. She has met my parents before, but it's always been on neutral ground. Having her here, in the house as it were puts yours truly at a decided disadvantage. My mom actually likes the S.O. and it shows. I suppose that is a good thing considering she never liked my ex very much ( and in hindsight probably proves an axiom that one should listen to one's mother about affairs of the heart.......), so it makes her lecturing and belittling of her son even more interesting. The S.O. gives her a vehicle to contrast my failings with.

Then of course there is the walk into the bedroom where we are staying. Its up stairs and all of us kids have had to use it at various times in the past 20 something years. I have no emotional connection to this house as my father bought it after he retired and I do not consider N. Carolina in any way "home". My father has the house arranged so that him and mom can live on one floor if they have to meaning the upstairs remains kind of a museum for our family. In the upstairs bedroom are pictures of the family Skippy every where. Pictures of me as a boy, pictures of my father as a young man, my sisters, our families, our ex's ( Mom and Dad got a trifecta with us kids, my parents are the only ones of us who have not been divorced...at least once.).

As I walk into the room, its like a monument to everything that has gone right and wrong in my life. A testament as it were to my success and failures. My late sister Barbara put this collection together when she came home after getting divorced from her husband. She took the time to put all of the various memories on picture boards and albums, then she took the fatal trip to Panama and out of this life............ However the testimony of her work remains. The S.O. finds it interesting, I find it haunting. So many missed turns, opportunities not taken, mistakes made. In the room are pictures of my children during supposedly happier times. Even then you can see the look of resignation on my face. Like the picture taken at the zoo, walking with my son and my daughter who could not have been but one then. The look on my face says it all, " Is this all there is?". Happily I discovered it was not, but delayed realization of long held desire comes at a cost. That same small baby girl, I have not talked to for over 3 years............

The history that is in this room! Pictures of life before blogging and the internet. Before 100 channels on TV. My grandfather at work in the B&O railway office. No Blackberry or cell phone in his pocket! Just a pipe, and money for beer at the Eagles lodge after work.

My father standing next to the old Studebaker. Hell does anyone under 30 even know what a Studebaker was?

A slim, young version of my mother, standing with her sister, dressed up to go to a party. A pre-WWII, pre- US hegemony, pre-baby boom party. She must have felt like I did at that age. Everything was hers for the taking! How different she seems from the elderly lady lecturing me about how I don't visit enough and when the hell am I going to move back to the US and get a "real life". Trying to explain to her that what she calls "a real life" I find incredibly mind numbing and boring, is just impossible. When Durham gets its own version Jaffe Road, come talk to me, other wise it will always pale in comparison to what I have at my door step in Asia.

The longest I've ever visited here was for 2 weeks-twice. Once during my sisters funeral time and once when my Mom was in the hospital. Both times I felt so relieved when I was heading to the airport to board the plane. I don't know why because my folks live in a very beautiful and peaceful place. Problem is though.....its their place not mine.

A rambling ramshackle post! However it will have to do for now. We are off to Asheboro and some Golf followed by a stop at the outlet mall for the S.O. I'll be poorer when that's over to be sure.......plus my sisters husband tells me its a tough course. (Tot-Hill Farms...). That's the news from driftsville today. More and better news tomorrow, I promise.

Ja mata ne.........

Skippy-san

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen"- Mark Twain

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