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Tatum: There and Back Again -- Part Tre

Posted: February 3, 2015 4:08 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2015 1:00 a.m.

The late, great Lewis Grizzard once mused we spend the first half of our lives trying to get away from home and the second half trying to get back.

Thomas Wolfe maintained you can’t come home again.

Well, we’re back.

Seven years, three houses, two jobs, and an additional four-legged home-schooled fur child later, my Beloved and I have returned to Camden. In fact, as I write this, I am sitting about 8 feet from where I sat some seven odd years ago when I left to see what was happening in the Tri-County area.

As it turns out, the Lowcountry is good, fun, and beautiful. It’s also quickly being overrun by Yankees and pillaged by locusts -- uh, I mean paved over by land developers. There’s still quite a lot to be recommended for the area, but over-built, over-populated, and over-priced aren’t particularly attractive to me.

So as the song says, ain’t it good to be back home again!

My grandfather once said a person with a PhD is an individual who, after careful thought and deliberation, will cut a hole in the door for the cat and another one for the kitten.

I don’t know about any of that. All I know is that I keep coming back here. Like the bear who went over the mountain, I go to different places to see what I can see. Sometimes I stay awhile. And always, but always, something draws, guides, propels, even downright shoves me right back here. No one or nothing has hindered me from coming back home, or leaving in the first place. I don’t think I’ve spent time thinking about this; it just always seems to work out that way.

A good friend of mine told me not too long ago not to worry; this place is always here. He’s absolutely right. While many things change, many things remain the same -- and I can live with both. The things which are wonderful become even moreso with time. The things which annoy, abrade, or otherwise contribute to the crab bucket are also present, but they are already visible and for the most part are manageable. At least here, it’s my bucket and I can pretty much deal with the things which don’t make much sense.

That’s why they invented beer.

I don’t even recall cutting too many holes in anything, doors or otherwise, unless you count my recent attempt to build a bird house out of scrap wood in the garage. As usual, this was a fine idea in theory but somehow degenerated into something else in practice.

I remember the day I showed it to my Beloved. She said something like, “That’s, um, nice. Is it a bird house?”

“Nah, it’s an ash tray,” I said.

I suppose the point, if there is one buried here, is: life happens. Things change, often quickly and unexpectedly -- hopefully for the better. You learn to roll with it, make it yours, understand all that chortling you’re hearing in the background underscoring all your machinations is very real -- God, or Someone, is having a pretty serious laugh riot with regard to your plans.

The good news appears to be once all that divine giggling and scratching subsides, another, far better plan, one you never would have even conceived, much less expected to happen, starts to unfold. And once you get past the idea that the birdhouse -- the one that wound up being an ashtray -- was not that bad a notion but not quite what was in the cards, either, then the new revelations take on the trappings of a gift slowly unwrapping for your delight.

Weird how that works -- because sometimes that wrapping can be pretty stubborn -- but danged if it doesn’t turn out better.

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