Category Archives: Domus et Familia

Posts about home and family

Sweet and low like a gift your bringing

There is no “after this” left (as in, “after this, we are moving.”) We are moving. Friday.

Actually, I’m going to be the last one out the door. By the time I get to Birmingham, the rest of the family will have already moved. Their stuff won’t be there yet, but they will. I’ll get several days of automotive mediation with the weight of our possessions behind me.

It hit me yesterday, when we got back from Splash Country. No, I did not take pictures at Splash Country. I think they might frown on a middle aged guy with a digital SLR snapping pics. But when I got back, I realized that the next big thing we had to do is move. There is no other big thing waiting. I almost cried in Target. Then I bought some ravioli.

There is the bit about getting tattooed this afternoon. That’s no big thing though. Not anymore. I have been contemplating a new tattoo for some time, and then I saw Jason Krekel’s “Esse Quam Videri” at the Wild Goose Festival. If your going to rip someone off, Krekel is a good person to steal from. Since we are both stealing from the State of North Carolina, I guess that’s ok.

My brother’s traveling song is “Truckin’.” I get that, but it has never quite fit me. Mine is “L.A. Freeway.” I’ve rarely experienced just one emotion. I’m sad and excited, alternating between the thrill of being able to take such a radical step and wondering why in the world I would ever want to leave this place.

It hit Tallulah last night too. Came out sort of different for her, since the thing on top is that she misses her mama. I get that. I miss her mama too. And mine. We cried together. Who would have thought that would happen, or that it would feel like the greatest thing in the world. I’ve got a lot to learn.

All the live-long day


Why, oh why, do I care about college football? Lo, it has been many years since I paid any real attention to any sort of sport. True, I did play football as a young man, a very young man, and I know the difference between encroachment and a false start, but that’s not made any difference up until now. Now is when Mack Brown is retiring from the University of Texas.

Brown was the coach at the University of North Carolina before he moved to Austin. UNC Football is a lot like University of Alabama Baseball: it’s something for the campus to watch until the real sport starts playing. At UNC, that would, of course, be basketball. Mack Brown did a good job at UNC despite the obstacles and that reminds me of the coaches who came and went from Vanderbilt when I followed them as a kid. So I like Mack Brown.

And I like Texas Football. Their’s is a brand of the sport which has never really struggled with the veneer of amateurism. You can call it cheating if you want, but Texas calls it entrepreneurial. Plus they make it look cool, what with the burnt orange and the boots. You can defend the University of Tennessee all you want, their orange ain’t cool.

So I am intrigued with this drama about who will be the next coach at Texas. They weren’t able to get a replacement quickly, so this might take a while. I’m thinking of ordering a pizza. Something with barbecue on it.

The Casual Station

When I was a very young child, my family lived near a lake. This was not a “lake-in-the-woods” kind of lake, but a big ol’ TVA impounded reservoir of a lake. The river so impounded — by the J. Percy Priest dam — is the Stones River, which gave its name to two great battles of the Civil War. Among the commanders of the Confederate Army were Braxton Bragg (for whom Fort Bragg in North Carolina was named) and Leonidas Polk, erstwhile Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi and founder of The University of the South. But that’s all superfluous to our story.

This lake near which we lived was relatively far from our relatives in the Nashville area. To go visiting, especially in winter, inevitably meant coming home in the dark. In those days, decorating with lights was not quite as common as in our own time, so seeing someone’s yard lit up with a seasonal display was something special. A lot of homes did have trees in the window, which were fun to spy as well. If no lights were visible, one could always watch as the moon followed wherever one went.

This interminable journey was almost always accompanied by a soundtrack from WZEZ, EZ-93 FM. The dulcet tones of “easy listening” radio would fall over us like saccharine blankets. It was a wonder to me that my father could stay awake to drive with such stultifying music on. But as my years grow longer (and I am older now than he was then) I can see the appeal in soft, soothing music. Of course, the 70’s were a simpler time.

Summer feet

Abigail is in the kitchen cooking dinner. It’s something I used to do all the time and still do quite a bit, but I’m grateful for the times when she cooks too. It feels like a great luxury and favor to me. I was so desperate to suck every indulgent morsel out of this little treasure of time that I almost checked LinkedIn to see what folks there were up to. Some indulgences cost more than they are worth.

I have never quite been comfortable with the idea of indulging myself. I do it. A lot. But every Swiss Cake Roll carries with it a bit of shame which is both part of the point and part of the problem. The problem being that I weigh 227 pounds and don’t really enjoy hauling something like 40 extra pounds around. Plus I know the difference between indulging myself and taking care of myself. Taking care of myself includes things like having a nice salad, even if I do make a sad face while I’m eating it.

Or running. I love running. I was not able to do it for a long time. 18 months or so, I think. Now I find that running is hard. The “easy” routes are a challenge and the “hard” routes are currently unthinkable. The chafing is also a challenge, and I am concerned about using petroleum-based products that might combust amid all that friction. Still, I hit a stride yesterday and that made running today all but inevitable.

But I forgot two things: a spoon and some shoes. The spoon was for the chili that I had brought for lunch. I need to not eat out some much at lunchtime. What to do about lunch was a question that would take some figuring. The shoes are somewhat self-explanatory in the running context. I was in the locker room, wearing my shorts and tech-tee when I realized why my bag was so light. Hoping against hope, I went barefoot to the car to see if I had some muddy sneakers on the floorboard in the back.

No such luck, and now I was kind of freaking out. Too much work was circling around in my head, and I needed the endorphins to mellow me out. And there was the fatness. After a few steps in the parking lot, I thought “Hey, the Kenyans do it, and I just talked to some Kenyans on the phone. Why shouldn’t I run barefoot?” Gravel. Sticks. Broken glass. Broken feet. The reasons are on infinity scroll. So I made a bad decision.

I ran without shoes down the sidewalk toward a small city park. People look at you funny for running in that neighborhood, and they really look at you funny when you don’t have any shoes on. The asphalt path in the little park was 1/8 of a mile. Eight laps, all the while a tiny Jack Russell strained against his leash to see what sort of idiot person ran without shoes. I finished the mile and went to the bottom of the hill, through the trendy arts district, and back up towards the starting place.

The best part were the bricks in the oldest section of sidewalk. Rather than being rough and hard, they were warm and smooth. I’ll run barefoot again just to run on them. But I won’t run barefoot tomorrow. A couple of new callouses are getting started on my big toes. Those will have to mature a bit before I take them out again. My legs, however, feel the best they have in a long time.