07 September 2006

Once upon a time ago, when Fox was a little boy, and Crusty was still worthy of a real first name, we thought Crusty was going to be laid off and so we downsized in a hurry.

We bought a 1962 Douglass of Georgia 10x48 (including the tongue) house trailer, and prepared ourselves for hard times. We had an old BB gun, and Crusty took the first watch with it to shoot the mice and rats as Fox and I tried to sleep in our new 'home'.

And when Crusty was not laid off after all, we were 'stuck' with this old trailer. By the time we'd got the good news we had killed or chased off all the critters, so we decided to gut the interior and rebuild it.

Those were the better years. We fenced, we wired, we painted, we floored. We built a small deck, and added onto it; we salvaged some old septic tank lids (unused and abandoned on the farm we rented a lot for the trailer on) and some bricks, and built a really beautiful walkway and terraced garden area wherein I grew some pretty spectacular roses. Crusty really hated me, but he built me a pretty nice kitchen.

Crusty bought a mid range telescope, and we would troop out to the front lawn and watch the Moon, and the stars. Weather, no matter; time of year was important-what planet, what star could we see now?

We even stayed out very late and took the telescopes (our neighbours were like minded) down to the pastures to see Hale Bopp. Then those people out in California killed themselves so their souls could hitch a ride on the comet, and we stopped watching Hale Bopp...Come to think of it, that is when things REALLY started to go south with Crusty.

In the early, early fall, even before Indian Summer, I would start raking the entire yard and piling the mostly pine straw rakings for the Halloween bonfire we lit in the ditch in front of the trailer. Fox's friends would come back after trick or treating to stay until collected by Mom or Dad much later, after the fire was going out for lack of fuel because pine straw mountains only last 7 or 8 hours at best when eager hands are claiming the pitchfork to make the fire leap up again.

As time went on and we enlarged the deck (we lived there from 1987 to 1998); it became our 'den' and we would sit there in the dark to listen for whipoorwills. Once we saw a panther in the neighbour's yard-she was petting it's head as it rubbed against her hip like a giant kitten.

I would get Fox into bed, get the dishes washed, the kitchen tidied, and then go out on the porch to say a rosary, walking back and forth along the deck that became a full length veranda.

Tonight I went out into the front yard with the dog, and the moon was full, and I thought again about buying myself a little telescope...I thought about how familar, yet better this would all seem to Fox, if I can just get through to him...I could almost hear him saying how much this place reminds him of the old place on Logan Road.

A million miles and years away.

I looked around this tin shack that I am renting on the side of a north Georgia mountain and missed my son so much it nearly took my breath away.

He needs a real father; I need a real husband.

My son and I need a home.

I know my son is 24 years old. But you tell me when a man no longer needs a real father, if you can. I don't think that you can say that we all don't need our fathers all the days of our lives.

I was truly blessed-my Pop and I were able to get through the issues before he died-we were home. When my dad died we were a family. I felt berift, but not homeless.

I wish Fox had that.

What makes a real father?


What makes a real home?


I love you Fox. Come home. Please, son.

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