About three years ago I was scheduled to attend a two-day conference in Murfreesboro - an over sized and disgusting monstrosity of a city about 45 minutes drive from my house in Tullahoma.
Because it was so close I planned on driving to and from the conference each day rather than staying overnight in the city.
I woke up early the first morning of the conference and as soon as I climbed out of bed and stood upright I knew that I was very sick.
I had a very bad case of the flu.
LC tried to keep me home but the conference was already paid for, I was scheduled to take a two day certification program that I really wanted, and I dragged my sorry self to Murfreesboro.
I grabbed a chair away from the others in attendance and promptly spent most of the day feverishly sleeping at the table.
At the end of the day a woman in the class approached me, smiled in a very open and surprisingly friendly way and asked me if I was going to be alright and if I was going to make it home OK.
This complete stranger offered the use of her hotel room if I did not want to drive home, for which I was grateful but declined.
We talked about work and the fact that she was looking for a job. My employer was soon going to be opening a position for which she sounded very qualified and I gave her some details.
The second day of the conference I was in recovery mode - no longer feverish but still sleeping through most of the training.
Thankfully I got full credit for attendance and thankfully the training was in an area in which I had a good deal of experience and I managed to stay awake long enough to breeze through the testing portions.
And six months later M&M was working where I was working.
M&M has stayed in touch with me regularly since I left Tennessee and was one of three people from my old employer who contacted me soon after they found out that I was leaving Juneau.
They all knew me and knew me well.
They knew how excited I was to begin my new job, and how much I had given up to go there, and they knew that if I was leaving Juneau so soon that something had gone bad wrong.
Within hours of my blog posting I received either an email, text or phone call from all three of them.
M&M sent me an email saying if we needed a place to stay to come to her house. The front door was unlocked. There was food in the refrigerator and to help ourselves. That we didn't need to give her a heads up. If we needed to come there to just come there.
For someone who had been badly damaged by continual vitriol I sat looking at her email on the screen and was deeply moved.
I feel it even now, just sitting here looking back on it..
I thanked her and told her we were not coming back to Tennessee at that time, but she stayed in touch with me while we were in Wyoming.
When we made the decision to head back here to Tennessee M&M titled all of her emails "get your ass back here", and when it became obvious that we were not going to be able to move back into the house until the end of September M&M offered up her cabin.
She lived in the cabin for a year or more until she built her house on top of a hill on the same property.
The cabin is small but bigger than the lunch box (as one of my other colleague-friends aptly called it) we were living in in Cody.
It is very old and I love it, but it has seen better days.
We have to keep all food in the refrigerator because it is not a tight little cabin, but it is a beautiful and quiet little cabin and I love it out there....................
The barn from the front porch of M&M's house.................
The other day I went for a walk down the road M&M lives on.
I went without either LC or Jamie and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to be alone.
I love them both but need much alone time and have not had it recently.
I wanted to explore and picture take in my own time and be alone with my own thoughts.
I came home with some pictures and also a tough case of chiggers resulting from wandering in tall grass.
Little buggers bit the heck out of me and I had forgotten about little buggers.
Too cold in Alaska and too dusty and dry in Wyoming for such things..................
Pictures of a horse farm down the road from M&M's property.............
Two barns on the property.
I would love to make one of them into a home.............
A music teacher lives in this home, and under her weeping willow tree is the largest set of wind chimes I have ever seen.................
When I first started my walk I was surprised to see that the horses (a handful of them) and the donkey named Molly were not in the front pasture.
They had been grazing there every day since we arrived and I began my walk initially with the intention of photographing these wonderful animals.
On the way back I saw that they had moved to the front and I dug my camera out of a side pants pocket eager to take pictures of them from afar.
What I have learned since arriving here though, is that these animals - just like the horses in Cody - are very friendly and curious creatures.
As soon as they saw me they walked up to the fence line eager to see if I had brought them any treats.
They are very beautiful, very sweet, still tentative around me, but always nice to see...............
M&M's small pond on the property between the cabin and a shallow creek..............
A view looking across the front porch of the cabin and over to the horse pasture later in the day............
So here we are.
Trailer full of stuff, cabin full of boxes we unloaded from the bed of our trucks, dead-beat tenants scheduled to be out of the house on September 28, LC planning on doing work to the outside of the house in the meantime and make his presence known as a subtle reminder that they had better get out.
In a small and sweet cabin in the country in the Tennessee hills while we wait out the month.
Me unsure of where to go professionally but feeling confident that I have the ability to figure it out.
The house needing some work but looking like it has come through the past 20 months in better shape than LC and I have.
Jamie happy and goofy and OK as long as she is close to us.
My oldest son and his wife living in a very very big and fancy house in the city and loving it. And me loving that they are building their lives in a very positive way.
My MIA youngest son finally calling me and letting me know that he loves Winnipeg and isn't planning on coming to Tennessee anytime soon. But he is OK.
They say that you can't go back.
I don't know who "they" are.
We can't go back to the way things were 20 months ago because things are different now and to a certain extent so are we.
But the basics are all there to be able to go back successfully.
We have the basics.
We'll figure out the rest....................
I saw this on M&M's kitchen wall the other day.................
Wherever you wander
Wherever you roam
Be happy and healthy
And glad to come home................