There are things in life that trigger your memory or memories, to a certain time, a certain place, a certain feeling, etc. For me, there are certain songs that will remind me of certain people or moments. Movie quotes that will take me instantly back to a time and a place. Hearing words pronounced wrong like champagne to “cham-pag-na” or adding an extra higher to “Electric Avenue” will always be New Year Day Day 2011! Then there the scents…Old Spice will remind always remind me of my Grandpa, Brut my dad, Windsong my Grandma, and Vanderbilt my Mom, Liz Claiborne is Junior High, Polo is High School, and those are the colognes and perfumes, but the scents of mother nature is what usually whisks me to home. As I walked home today, a breeze lifted the blooming scent of honeysuckle into the air. I enjoy this stretch of walk every weekend in the summer because I am home for that block it grows on and today, I was home once again. It was late at night back home but I started dialing those who I knew might be out and about or curled up hiding from the atrocities happening in my beloved home town where I have laughed more than I cried, have had more adventures on roof top bars and shuffle board games without ever needing to stamp a passport. In turn, that scent of honeysuckle made me long for home and familiar voices. I missed my girls, I missed my best friends, I missed silly laughter, shoving dollars into video crack machine, listening to bands play too loud at my favorite bar. I missed familiarity.
I miss my tribe, my people, my chosen family. It’s not that I haven’t missed them since I left them in Nov 2015, I missed them when I had to move to Detroit and then closer back and to Columbia. I know we couldn’t live in a snow globe of perfection forever as each of our crazy selves had dreams to chase. Some were closer to home and mine just happened to be at the complete opposite end of the world. Today, it just hit me harder than usual. (PS, if you have a missed call from me, everything’s okay, I just wanted a familiar voice to go with the scent honeysuckle.)
I had that moment from Beetlejuice where Lydia writes in her diary, “I am utterly alone” and I felt it. Yes, I have met people here in AUS but they don’t know the US version of Shelia, just the AUS version of Shelia. They’ll never understand or be a part of giving a homeless man a $100 gift card to a restaurant with one of your best friends and watching him enjoy a meal, maybe his first real meal and beer that he had in months, as we sat with a gaggle of our friends enjoying Sunday Funday and partying like we had an endless supply of money. They’ll never be a part of convincing two strangers (and subsequently their wives and children…Cynthia, thank you for not punching me in the face when we finally met) to move from Alaska to join the company because they’re energy and excitement was needed. They’ll never know arriving at the Gin Mill on 4 pm when it opened and leaving at 2 am when it closed because your work week or day was just so damn bad that sitting in the corner with your favorite regulars was the best thing of the week/day. They’ll never know sitting in the corner of the best damn bar ever crying over deaths, love, happiness with people who once were strangers but are now family.
Yes, I can make new memories with new people here but the moments aren’t the same. They don’t get the stories of my past as I don’t get the stories of their past. We share to prove to each other we lived lives and had good times. We share to prove some times shit happens to everyone. We make new memories as new friends, but sometimes though, you just need a familiar voice or moment. It was my choice to move around the world. I don’t regret it one bit but I sure as hell miss walking into the bar and seeing “Mama” Holly’s smiling face, hearing Heather say “hey Slut Bucket”, hearing EB squeal every time Hanson came on over head, Krissie whipping out a bag of fruit to with her drinks for the night, Beth making sure we were always chaperoned even if we were always poorly chaperoned, checking out guys with Ronnie, and so much more.
I love and miss all you fuckers back home. You know who you are. When you hear “Springsteen” by Eric Church, know that this month, those memories he sings about is how I feel about you.
“…Discount shades, store bought tan, Flip flops and cut-off jeans. Somewhere between that setting sun, I’m on fire and born to run…I was singin’ to you, you were singin’ to me. I was so alive, never been more free…Funny how a melody sounds like a memory, Like the soundtrack to a July Saturday night, Springsteen…”
And thanks to Krissie for letting me talk for over 2 hours to her today just so I could be “home”. I’ve been saving this capture/embed of this post she did on Instagram for almost a year now AND finally have the perfect post for it. Love you lady. So glad music brought us together and that the Gin Mill kept us together. Muah.
Seems appropriate that this photo appeared in my FB “On This Day” feed today. @sheliataylor and I met through music – @garethasher fans unite – and became friends because we both loved the same bar. This weekend, we throw her a going away party because she’s leaving to move to Australia and chase her dreams. Shelia is one of my closest friends, and to say I am going to miss her is inadequate. We are radically different in many ways – she adventurous and brave, me cautious and not a risk taker, her a shot girl, me a beer gal – but we also share a lot of loves, laughter, music, and beliefs. She has brightened my world in so many ways…and although I know our friendship will go on forever, and that I am so excited for her, the idea of not being able to call her and say, “let’s get a drink” is unfathomable. Love you, Shelia. Cheers to all the good things. PS – thanks for the photo @willbyington.