Scratching his head as he sums up the situation, “Wow, you have a lot of stuff”.
“It’s actually not that bad” I say as I piled the last bag of clothes on the mountain of bursting hefty bags. “We can throw these bags over the rail and then it’s just the last of the boxes that need to be carried down”. “All of the furniture I’m taking is already loaded, the rest is staying here for Merry who’s renting my apartment”.
“What time you leaving?” he says with raised eyebrow.
“Noon sharp”, I say adding “There’s a few more people coming to help and say goodbye too”.
“OK, then we better get to it”.
“Let’s just sit and drink a cup of coffee first, we have time. I told people to be here at 10”.
“I’m going to miss seeing you guys around here” he says as he takes the recycled gas station cup of steaming brew I offer.
“I’ll miss you too” I say my eyes filling with emotion, “This community really embraced us after Jim died and I will always be thankful that James was able to grow up living here”. Little James wanders out of his bedroom carrying an armful of stuffed toys.
“Hey little guy, you all packed?”
Ignoring the question little James grabs a tennis ball from the Rubbermaid tote by the door “Mom, can I go out front and play?”
“Just stay in the yard” I call as he bounds out the door.
“How’s he handling it”?
“He loves it here. His friends, the elementary school, the church, it’s all he’s ever known”. “I think he’ll be ok once we get there.”
“Well you guys better stay in touch.”
“We’ll call you when we get there and there’s always Facebook.”
“I hate Facebook.” he says
“Well you better start liking it. We’ll be posting our adventures on the way out. We’re taking our time and stopping at the Cedar Point Amusement Park and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” “I told James to think of this as our vacation, just me and him.”
A little while later as I head to the truck arms full of memories little James appears.
“I remember when I got this ball!” James grabs excitedly at the milk crate full of sporting goods on the back of the truck. “Will I get to play baseball there?” James asks
“Yes James, Grampy and Uncle Matt tell me there’s a little league team at your new school and a baseball camp this summer that they got you all signed up for. I know you’ll make lots of new friends”.
“Where are you going put it all?” As he yanks on the handle and the back of the U-haul slams shut.
“We’re renting a storage unit until we get our own place”.
“So you’re staying with your folks?”
“Right now they need me. Dad is having a hard time keeping up with the house, and Mom needs supervision when he’s not home. Her memory is getting worse and she forgets to take care of her diabetes. She even forgets to eat sometimes.”
“Geez, that’s tough. At least James will get to know them better.”
“Yea and I’m hoping I can help Dad set up some services for her. In my heart I know that this is what we need to do.”
“How long does it take to get there?”
“It’s a solid 24 hrs of driving bet we’re stopping to stay in hotels a couple of nights.”
“With a pool, right Mom!” James pipes up.
“You bet buddy!” I say.
As I hop up into the truck I call to James “Co-Pilot?”
“CHECK!” A little Mew comes from the cat carrier between the seats.
In the rear view mirror as we pull out a crowd has gathered to wish us off.
“Drive safe!”, “Safe travels!” “Good luck” …. “Love You!”
I beep the horn and James hangs out the window waving until we turn the corner.
You can “Get there from here” I think. And we are going.