DISCLAIMER: This entry was written at different times, initially it was intended to be posted with the anniversary post on the 2nd. However, as will become obvious fate dug a dirty finger in and the plan changed. In a time of stress and need, writing helped. And so I’ve cobbled together a semi coherent remnant of what has transpired and I offer it here for you, because I’ve had a few concerned inquiries and because it just feels right to tell it…
Two years ago I created SRS Business with the announcement that my wife and I would be moving, so it is fitting that I wind up this anniversary celebration with the same announcement. My wife; Brandy, is a teacher of English and has been offered a position at a new school district that is closer to family and friends in NW Arkansas. The new school is smaller, so affords the opportunity for more one on one teaching. Additionally, the starting pay is higher than her current salary at a more populous and troubled school district.
It is bittersweet that we leave as we do, when we first came to Pine Bluff it was with such noble intentions. Both of us felt we could make a difference in the lives of young men and women who everyone else had given up on. And so, it is with regret that we throw in the towel as well. The most important lesson of our time here is that of the old idiom, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” it is much the same situation in Pine Bluff. You can not help those that do not want to be helped, and it is a fools errand to try. we are both proud fools. Proud that we tried when so many told us it could not be done. One day, I hope that things will change – that the people of that city will find their self respect, and that they will once again care.
It is the danger of caring, that you will be broken hearted by those that do not care about themselves. Such are the pitfalls of teaching. And I mention this because, this is the impetus for our new exodus. But more importantly I mention this because I understand the difficulty of this decision that has been made by my wife, and I honor her for it. It is the crux of adulthood, that sometimes we have to make decisions that we may not like. Difficult decisions with no obviously right answer. It is my fervent belief, that she has done a great service to those few willing to listen – to those precious few who care.
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
As I write this, I am in the living room of my father in the house where I grew up – Van Buren, AR. My wife is back in Pine Bluff waiting for the unhappy news that her grandmother has passed. Earlier this year she was found to be in an untenable medical situation, after a successful colonoscopy the medical professionals found that the tiny lady was quickly succumbing to cancer that was running rampant in her liver and digestive tract. She was given three months to live. As of this writing, she has surpassed her proscribed expiration date by over one month.
As my wife and I made preparations for an exploratory trip into our new hometown we received the call letting us know that the elderly scrapper that my wife calls “gramma” had taken a turn for the worst. And so our trip turned quickly into a frenzied attempt to say goodbye. With the end of the school year so close at hand, my wife needed to go back as soon as the holiday was over, but with my own job being finished (I picked up my final check Friday) I was in a prime position to offer my hand to the family. We kept watch throughout the weekend, and I have attempted to make myself as useful as possible to my mother in law who appears to be in a state of frenzied escapism.
On Monday night as my wife was making her way back home I got a call informing me that her 17 year old cat had died. I went to bury him in the old backyard and settled in to await the last gasp of a woman I feel I barely know.
I fear for my mother in law who buries herself in tedium and my loving wife who seems to have lost so much irrevocably.It is a kindness that her grandmother will slip away from pain, but it’s hard to stay positive during such a prolonged experience of suffering. Originally I had written a much less maudlin wrap up to the big day, and I had plans for several other posts that I wanted to put finishing touches on for the day. However, as is obvious other concerns presented themselves. It should go without saying that I can not say when I will be able to play WOW again or when I will be able to get back in the blogging saddle, what I can say for certain is that I will return when I can and that I will be here with the family as long as it takes.
Addendum: On June 1st my wife’s grandmother passed away, the funeral service was Saturday and things appear to be moving back to some semblance of normality. As the speaker at the funeral put it, her death is but a sad chapter in a book. The bitterness of those pages are important to the whole, but ultimately there is still good reading elsewhere…
School is out, my wife’s obligations to Pine Bluff now completed we could finally make a quick trip North to see what we could see of our new home. A good way to keep the little lady’s mind distracted and a great way to keep us moving in the right direction.
I feel compelled to mention our new hometown, it is small with a population of roughly 3500. However, the school is absolutely new and modern. At first blush one might mistake it for a smaller university rather than a high school. It is obvious from the beginning where the cities priorities lie with regards to money, and that is obviously welcome news to a third year teacher and a teacher in training.
Five minutes after seeing the school for the first time I pulled my car to the curb on main street and headed into a realty company, where I met a man who can best be described as Jeff Daniels with a better haircut. I quickly learned that the property where I’d parked had actually just become available and we were welcome to a tour if we were interested. A walk across the street and up the stairs opened up to an absolutely beautiful studio apartment.
Two thousand square feet of hardwood floors and tall windows. It even came with a pool table and a fully furnished kitchen. I was floored, and the wife loved it. Within in an hour we had signed paperwork and laid down a deposit. Meanwhile both couples (the realtors wife works side by side in the same office) talked as if we’d known each other for years. I also learned that the building is for sale, there’s a 2000 sq ft office below the apartment, currently tenanted by Edward Jones Investments (now there’s a double coincidence, my last name being Jones and being big into investments myself).
We took the time to introduce ourselves as the new tenants of the apartment above the office, the secretary was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to meet us. We’ve learned that the previous tenant was for lack of a better word, a kid. The type to crawl out onto neighboring roofs from his apartment naked and drunk (on main street mind you) skateboard and blast guitar hero directly above during office hours. In short: he was evicted, for obvious reasons…
So now, as I close this I have to say we are both happy and enthusiastic. We are back in Pine Bluff so we can get packed and move in to our new home. Later today I’ll be meeting with a moving company the heat is bad though, and it’s going to be rough packing with no air conditioning. We’ve both caught a stomach virus and are resting in a hotel room before we attack the clutter again. We’ve got a yard sale planned for next weekend to make a little extra moving cash and to make the process a bit easier. But things are coming along nicely, and by the end of the month I should be reasonably settled in my new home. See, it’s not all bad news…
Thanks for reading, see you soon!