Here we are this past September, at the Boutier Winery between Ila & Danielsville, Georgia. We always knew we’d end up in Georgia, closer to my daughter and grandson, but never thought it would happen as quickly as it did. We sold our house in Spokane, WA to the first people who looked at it in January 2017, but planned to delay the move until we had one last fall in beautiful Spokane. So we packed up, moved into an apartment, so hubby could continue working (and kayaking) in Spokane for the next seven months, we thought, & signed a seven-month lease. I liked having time to tell friends goodbye, as well. We had such a good plan.
But there’s something about owning a new home in a different state by June that makes you get itchy feet, wanting to move out, get the show on the road. By July I was in Colbert, GA, near Athens, and by September we were both home in Georgia, only twelve minutes from daughter, Allison and grandson, Asher. Of course we did have to pay an unexpected extra month’s rent on the apartment. Note to self: Don’t do that again.
And then it started. Hubby went to the Ace Hardware just one minute from our house, to buy a lawn mower. He came home with a new riding lawn mower. It is green, big, loud, and nearly fills the shed he coveted in the back yard the minute he saw this house for sale. Now I am used to seeing him mow the lawn wearing his floppy hat. He used to wear it kayaking with his paddle buddies in Washington. Now he wears it to mow the lawn in Georgia.
He says we don’t live in the country. I tell him we do – we live on a septic tank, have a big shed in the back yard, there’s no garbage disposal, no Macy’s, and we wake mornings hearing the neighbor’s rooster crow. I call that country.
As for me, I’m fitting in quite well, being a southerner from NW Florida, to begin with. I’ve gone to the grocery store with no makeup, wearing my Macy’s boiled wool bedroom slippers and Lula Roe leggings I had just slept in, but it was a chilly day and I wanted to stay warm. When I sheepishly admitted this to a neighbor down the street who was here talking to my husband about building either a shop or kayak shed, he told me in no uncertain terms, “Honey, you live in Georgia now. Nobody here gives a shit about your shoes.” I’m finding out he’s right, too. I’ve now worn those shoes to the store more than once, and am getting used to having people call me Miss Ruth – the dentist, druggist, office receptionists, lady at the post office, neighbors and people on the phone. Instead of saying, “Hi,” they say, “Hey there.” They really do. I’m starting to say it, too, and hubby has already dropped both ‘ts’ in words like Atlanta or Atlantic. But we’ve moved clear across the country. You have to expect things to be a bit different, right? We just never realized it would be us.
In Spokane we sat on the front porch after dinner to eat ice cream and watch neighbor kids play in the cull d’sac. Now we sit on the front porch to watch the sun go down & admire our beautiful new River Birch in the front yard, with hopes that one day it will shade the very steps we’re sitting on. We open the front door to listen to the rain, love the sound of thunder, and hear it often. We feed every bird in sight, mow the lawn twice a week, and both go to the Y on a regular basis. Retirement isn’t all bad, folks.
Hubby has created the garden from the Gods, with more tomatoes than I know what to do with. I gave away 40 large ripe tomatoes last week, and some even to the pest control guy. We have green peppers that are the sweetest I’ve ever tasted; green beans and peas; zucchini and acorn squash; blueberries and raspberries; and two apple trees. He even drove two hours to another town to buy a scythe for clearing the land behind our shed, which is rapidly becoming his nature preserve.
One of the biggest surprises for us in the fall was that there are bulldogs all over Athens, GA, and nobody here seems to care about WSU vs U of W; nobody wears Seahawks jerseys to the grocery stores on game days; and nobody has Go Zags signs in their front windows, either. Here it is all Falcons, UGA and Dawgs of any kind. I have a small UGA bulldog on the front porch, wearing a red sweater. One of these days I am going to quietly paint his sweater blue for Gonzaga. They’ll never know. We’ve also been to many, many soccer games, far and wide, underneath very hot sun, but also ice hockey practices in Athens. Who would believe such a thing? Ice hockey in Georgia. And we are so there. Of course we are. It involves grandson, Asher. So, it’s a no brainer. We go.
When new friends ask me how I like it here, I pause and turn it all over in my mind – it’s a 48 mile round trip to Target, Michael’s, Home Depot or Lowe’s; my closest library is in Danielsville; I drive seven miles at 55 miles per hour just to buy milk and eggs; and it will take me at least another year to understand why the Athens’ Inner Loop and the Outer Loop are one continuous circle.
And then I remember. Allison & Asher are twelve minutes away. Everything else pales in comparison. So I tell new friends and old, “We love it here. Wish we’d moved years sooner!” As for the cherry on top, hubby has a new part-time job. It’s a blessing in disguise. After all, you have to consider how much those carbon fiber kayak paddles cost. He’s already been paddling at Lake Russell, Lake Chapman and Sandy Creek shores, plus a quick dip just today with a surfski in San Francisco Bay, thanks to his new job in a round about way. And he beams telling me that the Atlantic is only four hours away. I think he needs a new floppy kayaking hat, though. The old one lives out in the shed, on top of his big green riding lawn mower. Any day now I expect he’ll give that mower a name. And so it goes here in Colbert, GA, in the country if you talk to me, and not in the country if you talk to him.
He wants to ‘name’ our home, too, the way people do at lakes. It isn’t a lake, I tell him, unless it rains and then we do have a lake in the front yard, but only for a few days. He has come up with his pet name, which I think fits the bill: Kiss my Ash. Makes me laugh because we left a huge ash tree in our back yard in Spokane. But sadly, they tell us that Ash trees do not do well here. It’s too hot for ash trees, and even rhubarb or lilacs. Always new things to learn. But we could name this place In the Country ~ or not. More names crop up from time to time, like The Agony and the Ecstasy. That might work, especially when we wait too long to mow the lawn, which has apparently been over fertilized.
I guess one day the spirit will move us away from the front porch, we’ll decide on a name for this new adventure, and we’ll hang a sign underneath the mailbox. Just think of the names we might come up with in time. Which reminds me. We could even name it The Time Machine. But there’s no hurry on this ~ or much of anything else. Things get done slowly around here. We’re retired, after all, and ya’ know, we live in Georgia now, Y’all.