You can’t go home again.
— Thomas Wolfe
Ever go by an old house where you used to live and get irritated that its current resident isn’t, shall we say, as diligent as you were?
It happened to me last month, coming back home from an out-of-state wedding. I was within a few miles of the first house I had ever bought, so I thought I’d take a look at the three-bedroom ranch I had once scrimped and saved to acquire.
I had painted it and built its front porch and planted the prettiest red azaleas around a sycamore in the front yard.
I had started a hedge for privacy along one side and even planted an apple tree, a birthday gift from my brother, in the back.
Well, the porch is gone.
The azaleas are gone and I couldn’t see the apple tree because the privacy hedge is now very, very high and doesn’t appear to have been trimmed since I last did it.
I drove down the street, turned around in a driveway, then came back to make sure I had seen what I was seeing.
It will be the last look.
YOUR MAIL: Ernest and Martha Odom, of Evans, were on the road this fall, sending colorful postcards from the Amish country of Pennsylvania and the leafy scenery of Vermont.
“The colors are beautiful,” they write, “and the weather has been great. They are high and dry just like Augusta, Temperatures have been cool. We’re riding Amtrak from Rutland, Vt., to Poughkeepsie, N.Y … part of our trip back South.”
Rhea Markowitz is spending a few days in the Rocky Mountain National Park where she has seen “… lots of elk. It’s toward the end of rut season. Saw two males lock antlers along the roadside in people’s yards, bugling for their harem, of course. Also saw a moose grazing for algae in a pond. And saw deer. Beautiful weather — bright blue skies, snow at high elevations and a ‘spirit tour’ of Stanley Hotel.”
(Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, of course, is the one in the famous horror movie The Shining.)
Finally, Adams, Jackson and Harris sent a postcard from the welcome center in Virginia where “the motto is ‘Virginia is for lovers,’ ” but it’s “very hot here for October.”
TODAY’S JOKE: Somewhat skeptical of his son’s new-found determination to become the next Charles Atlas, the father nevertheless followed the teenager over to the weight-lifting department.
“Please, Dad,” whined the boy, “I promise I’ll use them every day.”
“I don’t know, Michael. It’s really a big commitment on your part,” the father pointed out.
“They’re not cheap either.”
“I’ll use them Dad, I promise. You’ll see.”
Finally won over, the father paid for the equipment and headed for the door.
From the corner of the store he heard his son yell, “What! You mean I have to carry them to the car?!”