Close...

I was talking with a close friend of mine this morning.....they are at a crossroads right now....the quandary is all about moving...from the Smoky Mountains to the West Coast......they've never been away from the mountains for very long at a stretch....and they have never lived very far from their family....add to this the fact that their family is very loving and close...and you begin to see the problem.....add in other complications which I'm not going to get into, and it becomes a real mess...but, in a way...I understand where they are coming from....

..the whole conversation got me thinking....I joined the Corps when I was 17....I graduated from High School on a Friday...and was at Parris Island on Monday morning....after basic, and MOS training, I was sent overseas....I did 18 months in the Pacific...and 2 years in Europe...then, I stayed overseas after my time in the Corps was up....I moved back a couple of years ago because of duties I needed to fulfill in my family…I ended up spending 9 years of my life…from 17 years of age…to 28….away from my family…distance never made a difference in my love for my family…or their love for me…

...The world we live in is so small...with enough money, you can be on any point of the globe in 24 hours... Antarctica.... Australia.... the deepest recesses of the Congo river basin...... and, in a couple of years....the face of the Moon... ...distance is quickly becoming less and less important....but, we still hold onto the idea in our minds...."It's so far away..", we tell ourselves....”you’re so far away from me”….we delude ourselves.....we console ourselves with that statement .....but, in reality....you are never really that far away..

...and, I don't mean this in a “you are miles away, but I have you in my heart” kinda way…I mean it in ACTUAL distance…you can be ANYWHERE in 24 hours…to me, that is just an incredible idea…as a lover of history, the idea that I can fly up to Boston for the afternoon…and have dinner, meet some friends, catch a performance of the Boston Pops, and still be back in Tennessee for the Letterman Show…just boggles my poor little mind….In my Great Grandfather’s day, that was a two week horseback ride…up and over Cumberland Gap…and into Kentucky…and on to the North…and then, two weeks back..

It is normal to be afraid of unknowns…moving cross country would have scared the hell out of me too, years ago…but now, I view distance differently…we have e-mail, phone calls...cheap-assed airfares…there really is no excuse…I guess it boils down to this…we are as “close” as we WANT to be….I know people who live a couple of miles away from me now…and we were “closer” when I was overseas…you ARE where you are…and, the people who are close to you…that you want to be close with…are close, regardless of the perceived distance…

So…to my friend…I’m not going to give you advice…but, what ever path you decide…be happy…and once decided, do not regret your choice, regardless of the outcome…damn those torpedoes, my friend…full speed ahead….

by Eric on January 13, 2004 | Comments(7) | SWG Stories
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Comments so far:

Why would anybody -ever- leave the Smokey Mountains, and move to the Left Coast?

Just Curious!

posted by: Sam on January 13, 2004 06:47 PM

in my best "Princess Bride/Dead Wesley voice"....

..."to blave"....

posted by: Eric on January 13, 2004 07:06 PM

Very well said.
As an aside I've often wondered (no, really!) just how important the Cumberland Gap was to the early settling of the first frontier. All those Virginians and Carolinians had a relatively easy way through the Appalachians. There may have been no Boone or Crockett or Andy Jackson without the Gap. Fascinating.

posted by: Velociman on January 13, 2004 07:08 PM

Eric, you did an outstanding job of describing physical versus emotional distance. Thanks for the great post!

posted by: Jack on January 13, 2004 11:57 PM

I find physical distance makes my family much more tolerable :)

posted by: Chris on January 14, 2004 08:50 PM

I agree with everything, but is it to California? I realize that is the extreme, and not the only place on the left coast. But not even enough money would get me to the actual coast of southern California.

posted by: Ms Anna on January 15, 2004 07:38 PM

Ms Anna: ...nope..Pacific NW...near Tacoma....

posted by: Eric on January 15, 2004 07:50 PM