Very, very strange day. Not bad, just strange. Here I am in a shitty hotel about a half-mile from my high school football field, the place where my identity as a hard worker and an athlete (that was then, sorry to say) became ingrained. Like everyone I suppose, some of my best and worst memories were made just down the road, at high school. Perhaps I haven’t come that far in the past 40+ years, after all. It’s hard to escape your origins.
I came to my hometown to pay my respects to the mother of my best high school friend. In doing so I went back in time and place. I saw old friends and even a football coach. It was great to see them, in spite of the occasion. I made the mistake of driving past my Boyd County home, and it has aged better than most. I loved this picture of it – it turns out there IS an exit from eastern KY, and some of us found it. It doesn’t have to be a dead end.
This is the place we lived when I was age eight through about 15. At age 15 we moved to a house 100 yards away, a place that has been torn down. This place remains, in great shape. Most of the homes around it have succumbed to the strange eastern KY blight of tiny shacks all together, their history of rusted autos, washing machines, and refrigerators displayed proudly (?) around them. This place, our place, has avoided that fate. I’ll give my Mom the credit for staving off the decay – she was an enemy of entropy. A force for progress.
Back to the reason for being here. My buddy Mike is the same as ever – high school thin, a full head of hair, an angelic smile, and now a proud father, grandpa, and patriarch. If I didn’t love him so much I’d hate him – we all should age so well. But he’s one of the best people I’ve ever known, and I was happy to be there to honor his Mom. She was like Mike – unforgettable. One of a kind.
The other part of this strange day was that I was shocked to see my Dad. He has gone downhill hard since I saw him a month ago. He has some strange fluid-retention-in-the-chest problem that no one can seem to diagnose, so I called his pulmonary specialist and raised hell. We have an appointment with said specialist tomorrow and I hope I can get to the bottom of his malady. Hence the stay in the shitty hotel. If we can’t figure it out, I fear he won’t make it through the next UK basketball season. That’s all I ask right now – that we have one more season to commiserate, winning or otherwise. Go Cats!