Here I go again, a new adventure in life, starting a business, and another move to another state.
When I left my home and friends in Massachusetts about 12 years ago,and wound up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado for several years, I felt I knew what Johnny D was talking about with those lyrics, it was the summer of my twenty seventh year. Such immense natural beauty, I was captivated by it, couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Then, with the economic downturn that has taken place over the past several years, summers ceased to provide enough income to get through the winter (in the town that inspired "The Shining").
My sweetheart and I left there with an open bed pickup truck (a '68 F100) loaded with all of our earthly possessions tied under plastic tarps, a full a tank of gas and 27 dollars in Aug of '05. He'd been fired from his job, which had provided both of us with housing, for asking for a Saturday night off so that we could attend a dear friend's 50'th birthday party (and because his supervisor, who was married but sleeping with the owner, who was also married, was up to some underhanded/illegal things and he found out about it - asking for a Sat off in the middle of the busy season was just the excuse she used).
We managed to sell jewelry and clothes that I make, in order to pay for gas and food, panhandled when we had no other choice, lived in a tent for a while, wound up in Arizona, then California, then Arizona again. Being homeless is easier in places where you won't freeze to death, and continually moving from one place to the next seemed to make people more willing to help, since they didnt see us in the same place more than one day in a row. A few months here, a few months there, found a couple of people along the way who were willing to have us do yardwork or babysitting for permission to camp on their property. Then, I found out I was pregnant, at 35 years old, I'd started to worry that I was not able, so this caused much mixed emotions, joy, fear, relief , anxiety, etc . He got a "customer service" job in Phoenix, (which is quite a feat when you don't speak Spanish), and we found a cheap rental in the ghetto that was walking distance from his office (near 37th Ave and Van Buren, for those of you who know Phoenix). Whew, but not really. Hearing gunshots at night, and circling helicopters with spotlights were "normal" and nearly a daily thing there. The air there is horribly polluted, hot, and dusty, it was affecting his asthma, causing headaches and concern for the health of ourselves and our unborn child.
So we looked for something, anything, that would provide housing. Both of us with experience in hospitality, we were trying for hotel/B&B management, , trying for something near my mother so she could be near her only granddaughter, ended up taking a property management job... of a trailer park in the middle of tornado alley, central Missouri. But after a year and a half, being on call 24/7 is making us crazy, and we came to the conclusion that some of the tenants are a bigger threat than the weather. It is only a matter of time before somebody goes "postal", my husband has had swings taken at him, verbal threats of physical violence over not returning a deposit on a place that was trashed, threats of firebombing our home while we sleep, because somebody doesn't wanna get rid of the pitbull they were not authorized to have in the first place.... yikes! We can't evict all of them at once or the mortgage on the place wouldn't get paid. And the cops wont do a darned thing until someone actually does get hurt, and even then we've seen them leave without taking anyone with them. Living amidst such contempt was making us angry and contemptuous ourselves. I'd take my daughter home from the playground whenever the other kids would show up, so she wouldn't hear and see their fighting and cussing, which is constant. I found myself developing a great deal of disdain for my fellow humans, because of this group of deadbeats and welfare scammers, it was difficult not to feel that way, being barraged with their ridiculousness 24/7, and no days off in over a year.
So, going out on a limb, we are purchasing a small coffee shop in the mountains of western North Carolina. And lately I have found myself singing the lyrics of another John Denver tune... "Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River, Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, rolling like the breeze...Country roads....take me home..."
It is soooo beautiful here, different than the Rockies, but no less enticing or inspiring. I can breathe again, back up at 3500 or so feet elevation; I never did adjust back to the air at lower levels after being in CO for several years. I've finally got my venue for my artsy things, and my husband a forum for his music, but we've got some work to do in getting noticed, newspaper ads will start this week, and we are hoping for a busy summer. The previous owners kept odd and very limited hours (to the point of having very little business at all), so the locals are just starting to trickle in, but they are digging our organic fresh roasted coffees so far, word of mouth is bringing some results already. "One man gathers what another man spills...." :-)
We are glad to be here. Nothing worthwhile is easy, but we are determined to make things work in this beautiful place. If any of my fellow newsviners happen to be traveling this way, come on by, I'd love to meet many of you in person.