by Mark Stinson
Silk Hope, NC -The day finally arrived when the house is empty of children. It’s unsettling not to hear the sounds of boys wrestling in the house or doors slamming. I fussed for years telling them we didn’t live in a barn; to close the doors, then I fussed for them to quit slamming the doors. Now I wish I could find an open door or hear one slam to fuss about. Its eerily quiet now. They are in and out but more out than in. Both have ventured out of Chatham in search of a job and a future. My older two kids are doing very well. Tristan’s in Greensboro flourishing at 50 plus grand a year with a new truck. Chelsie made me a grandpa and is starting her life up north in Connecticut.
I sit and ponder on what’s next. My health sucks and with the heat I can’t venture out long anymore when its over 85 degrees. Beth asked me what I wanted to do. That scares me as I haven’t asked myself that since before children. Children become your world and what you want to do is often lost in what they need you to do. I thought about what I wanted to do and I started to remember what I used to do when I could do what I wanted too. Everyone knows me for turning a wrench but those who knew me in high school knew me for drawing cartoon characters and art work. I love to create things on paper, with paper, with wood, with metal, with anything for that matter.
I look at this place I have lived on for almost 54 years and cry over family who’s gone to a better place and remember the happiness of when they were here. This is a big empty house now. Gramma’s house is empty. Aunt Lee’s place was sold and will be sold again soon. It’s just not the same. The place has memories but no one to enjoy them with anymore. Most of my friends left Chatham years ago and are scattered around the world as far as Indonesia. What few are left here won’t be here much longer. The politics in Chatham are toxic and things here are changing too fast. Not necessarily all bad but not all good either and I can’t see us being able to afford to live here in 10 years.
So what do I do next?
I think I need to find someone needing a big house and a shop to grow their own new memories in. I think I need to downsize and build our own not so tiny, tiny house with a wrap around porch. I always wanted a wrap around porch. I want to finish perfecting my wave motion engine I built in high school and go off grid. I want to grow things, make things but most importantly make new happy memories. An empty nest is not totally empty. It’s full of possibilities if you can make use of them.
It just crossed my mind I know one thing I really want to do. I want to go find a good cheeseburger and I think I will do just that right now!