I feel so loved right now. That’s a nice way to start a conversation, isn’t it? Feeling loved, lucky, at one with the omnipresent universe that surrounds me. Despite any setbacks, I have to say I had an incredible week or so of goodbyes that I could not imagine having been any better.
I say “week or so” because the first goodbye was a writing tour of Omaha that took place on June 16th. I can’t say much more about it because I was sworn to secrecy, but let’s just say that the goodbyes shared on that night were enough for any normal person to feel good about going anywhere. I cherish that night even though the journal I brought with me has since vanished.
Then, after my trip to Colorado with the Grinvalds’ clan and my two week CELTA bootcamp in Springfield, I returned back to Omaha to finish my packing where I met with a number of other memorable goodbyes.
Matt and I camped out at River West just outside of Waterloo. We just happened pick the night they were showing Bill Murray movies including Caddy Shack and What About Bob? I will admit that I haven’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. In a philosophical sense, Bill Murray is trying to kill the gopher in Caddy Shack, while he plays a metaphorical gopher to Richard Dreyfuss’ ego in What About Bob?
The following week, my brother Alan took me to see
the Garbage and Blondie concert at Stir Concert Cove. It was a hot and angry night in terms of weather, but the concert was excellent, and we both had a nice time. I especially enjoyed Garbage’s incredible rapport with the crowd. It felt so genuine. When she came down and hugged a guy standing right next to us, I was in awe. Blonde, although in her seventies, can still sing well, and the original band really nailed it despite two of them wearing tank tops circa 1974.
On Saturday, I had a goodbye with Emily at Shuck’s where I had a roundabout of oysters and their legendary buffalo shrimp. Highly Recommend. This was followed by Rick and Susan’s annual party and then an infamous poker game where knuckles were broken… figuratively speaking.
Then, on Sunday, after buying my Honda Civic Si from me, Sue took me with her and Doni and Alexsei to see Paul McCartney at the Century Link Arena. She pointed out that this was the fourth time that I got to see him play over a span of 25 years. She has seen him five times. Can you do better for a last
American concert than Paul McCartney? I don’t think so. His voice was a little shaky, but he rock and rolled for over 2 hours. He told some incredible stories, and he got away with playing “Temporary Secretary” live and having people cheer for it. Listen at your own risk (worst. song. ever.).
The highlight of it all was my official going away party that was supposed to be a surprise, and despite the fact that I knew about it and people came to my house, it was still surprising. People from my past and present showed up along with all my siblings and other family members to share a toast, eat some food, and drink some beverages together. It was like Ligo in July! All of my siblings contributed to the food supply, and neighbors, colleagues, friends and family joined together. We even did a champagne toast followed by a snort of Black Balsam for good measure. Thanks to all who came and thanks to those who sent their good wishes via Facebook.
But my last night in town was really special, too. After lunch with one of my favorite colleagues, Eric Sayre at the New Orleans themed Herbe Sainte, I had a final listen to my vinyl and Kyle and Al came over. Kyle and I tasted some of the red wines that were left after the party. Then Rod Howe brought together a few of the gang of the Free Thinkers, and each of them left a little message in my notebook. We had a nice dinner at the Brazen Head. My dad, Kyle, and Al also showed up. Tears were shed in the parking lot.
Then I had one last cribbage game at the Homy Inn
with Matt. I won, I think. And I spent a very restless few hours of not quite sleeping, worried about my 4 a.m. alarm. Alex the cat joined me on the couch, and I got the feeling that he knew something was up.
My only regret is leaving a bit of a mess in the house for Al, Chris, and dad to negotiate. I just had too much stuff and not enough time to figure out what to do with it. The garage sale was a bust, but I was able to sell some of the bigger items thanks to friends like Tiffany, Brenda, and Henry.
So as I sit her at the airport in Miami waiting for my flight to Lisbon, I have all these warm feelings. I just have to say think you to everyone for being a part of these memories! Your energy will be with me as I move forward and try to figure out what I’m doing in Latvia for the next year or so!
And let me mention that my trip out of Omaha began with an upgrade to First Class to balance out the weight of the plane. So I guess a little extra baggage can come in handy now and then!