Saturday, June 23, 2007

Absentee Owners & Precious Parcels

I live in West Virginia, which basically functions as a colony whose land and mineral rights belong to outside interests and absentee owners. It's an ugly situation, time-honored and unlikely to change any time soon due to ignorance, greed, graft, and despair. The best most West Virginians can hope to accomplish is to leave the state and become true American citizens. (Yes, Virginia, the rest of the country operates much differently than the WV plantation status quo.)

Having experienced life in various states for a total of six or seven years, I can honestly say I prefer the wonderful low humidity, weather, and lifestyle of San Diego, the relative low pollution of the Smokies, and the heart of the West Virginia people. Where else can good, truly good-hearted people continue to exist with horrible healthcare, remnants of decades of chemical industry pollution, and a primarily service industry for an economic base? Oh wait, maybe some other third world nation...

Anyway, enough of that. I received an email from my oldest (LOL!) dearest girlhood friend. The last time I saw her was the week after my mother passed away. I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and Lin rushed past. She was very thin, so painfully thin -- beautiful in a way I'd never seen her. But I worried. And she was gone in a flash. In her email, she teased me about my countdown to fifty, which made me remember how she and another friend and I cycle in age. First Lin "turns," then nine months later, TWK turns. Two weeks before Lin's birthday, I "turn" so for two weeks out of each year, the three of us are the same age. I think I got her a birthday card one year that read "I know what! Let's get older!" and inside it said, "You go first!" Right now, I'm still the youngest. Once I turn fifty, until Lin's mid-October birthday, the three of us will once more be the same age.

I'm not sure what significance turning fifty has, except that I set "50" as a milestone -- you know the kind, where you arbitrarily decide certain things should be accomplished by that time. Like when I thought I should own my own home by the time I was thirty. Still running a little behind on that one, I am. I don't worry about fifty being "old." I recall my father telling me he sent his mother a telegram on her fiftieth birthday that read "Happy Half A Century." She bawled. It's funny; I don't feel mentally any different than I did when I was twenty. I'm still silly and joke around. I find something to laugh about in nearly every situation (which is a good thing because I've had my share of situations through the years).

Lin offered me a priceless gift: She has some of my earliest writings in her special memento box which she's willing to share with me. When the meaning and import of her gesture sank in, I cried. She is literally giving me back treasures I'd thought forever lost. Only two women who were practically sisters can appreciate the depth of emotion such a possibility raises.

I look forward to reading my angsty teenaged writings. They're probably terrible, but they will still be raw and fresh and heartfelt. And at this time in my life, I welcome those scribblings as a sort of time capsule. Stepping back in time, courtesy of Lin. Who'da thunk?

So to make this post come full circle, Lin has been sort of an absentee owner of these precious poems and such. Thankfully she's been a good shepherd and one of the goodhearted, truly kind spirits. I wouldn't have ever thought anything less of her.


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