It’s 6:15 am on a Sunday morning, and while the rest of the world is still sleeping, I am up and about, walking my dog, exploring my new neighborhood.
I walk out the back door of my condo, dubbed the “Landing Pad” since its intent is to be a stopping point between destinations. It is beginning to feel like home—with more boxes than I have room for, but the dirt and grime are beginning to be my own.
The quiet is un-nerving—I had expected living on Mainstreet would be a bustling environment, with people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. But this town rolls up the sidewalks at about 10 pm during the week, and I’m in bed by midnight on weekends so I have no idea what it’s like after that. And the mornings weekend or weekdays are sleepy and slow to get going.
I find it well suited to me right now. Time to reflect, time to explore alleys and side streets. Keeping mental track of the stores I pass—three old fashioned barbershops with the swirling barber poles high enough up to avoid naughty thieves who might find them tempting; the psychic shop, a tattoo store, vaping shop, and a multitude of second-hand aka “antique” stores dotting the main drag. There are at least 15 eating establishments—19 if you trust Scot’s assessment of the situation—but who’s counting? And less than four blocks away is a live children’s theater/arts center, a discount movie theater (with real buttered popcorn) and the county library.
The grocery and hardware store are half a block off Mainstreet to the north, and the post office is half a block off to the south. There’s a gas station a block east, and three liquor stores within two and a half blocks any direction. The only thing missing (as observed by several of my new neighbors) is a medical center, although there are a multitude of dentists for some reason.
I’ve lived here less than a month. In that time, I sold a house, bought this condo, lost a husband, moved out then in, helped a friend with the loss of her son, and helped her move out then into a new home, too. I’ve got a best friend who has been in and out of the hospital since January—six months so far—with an aggressive cancer. I think of that quote, “God doesn’t give us more than we can bear,” and while I’m not a big believer, I think He’s getting pretty close to maxing me out.
But as with all things, there is good with the bad: my youngest son is buying a townhome and closing at the end of the month; my daughter’s baby is due in a few weeks; we will celebrate my oldest son’s wedding in a month; then another wedding, then another. I have had wonderful support from family, friends, and strangers. And while there is sadness, there is much to be thankful for.
Soon it will be Fall, then Winter, then Spring. On May 18 an anniversary will come and go. I will turn 65 a few days later. The rhythm of life continues and will continue, with or without me.