Just today a gentleman in Great Falls, upon hearing I will soon move to Mexico, mirrored my enthusiasm, “Oh, I love Mexico. My wife and I go to Cancun every year.” Then he followed with, “Aren’t you afraid to go to Mazatlan? We hear so much bad news about the drug traffic there. Even in Cancun, when we walk the beaches, we are accosted by people trying to sell us drugs.”
“Well,” I answered, “I have walked alone and with friends through many districts in Mazatlan and on the beaches and nobody has ever tried to sell me drugs.” I almost felt disappointed. Do I look that, what, boring, intimidating, Pearl of the Pure Heart, or just plain old?
Last weekend Terry came to my house with his young son, TJ. They loaded my van with boxes and other items I had packed for the trip. I wanted a test run, so to speak. Since I will be taking with me only what I can get into my van, I needed to see just what would fit. Normally I trust my judgment of spatial relations. But I wanted to make sure I could take all my carefully selected, packed and Spanish-labeled treasures.
Imagine my face-splitting grin when everything fit — and all in the front of the van. I have lots of room. “Figure out what else you want to take and I’ll come back in a few days to finish,” Terry told me.
So I wandered room to room. I carefully considered this and that. Especially the “this” and the “that” items I had first wanted to keep and later rejected. I retrieved my Kitchen Aid Mixer, vintage 1963. I discovered that I had said my good-byes. I am at peace with letting go of my treasures and items of beauty for others to enjoy.
Since I have oodles of room, I’ll ask Terry to spread the boxes over the whole floor of the van. Of course, there will be some last minute additions, some items I still use every day. And some, like a few plates, bowls, a skillet, one knife, fork and spoon, I’ll leave for the new owner to adopt or toss.
I’ve been blessing the house for Kim. I want her to receive as much pleasure from living here as I have. This home provided me a launching pad for new ventures in growth, such as serving on city council and related boards. Where else could I have acquired so much fodder for “Looking out my back door.” My intuition tells me that Kim is ready to expand her life too. I want to leave her that legacy, so I go from room to room and plant good memories.
One more week of living in this house, living out of a suitcase and with a depleted refrigerator. But I’m so busy that I hardly notice. Today I attended another final board meeting. I hesitate to say good-bye, rather, hasta luego. I have made new friends, some I feel I’ve known forever. We will keep in touch.
Tomorrow Craig is coming to spend a day or two. I met Craig about a dozen years ago when I cast him in “Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music,” his stage debut. He spent much of his time on stage with his head beneath the hood of an old truck dropping bolts into an oil pan. We got to be good friends. We do what friends do; we visit.
It is hard to leave the good people I have come to know. Remember, the road runs both ways. I’ll be back to see you. And you will come spend time with me in my new casa, address as yet unknown. So make sure your passport is up to date.
In my new home, because I’m still the same old me, I will surround myself with new art, more books, and every variety of experience. Since I’m a great tour guide, when you visit, I’ll take you places and show you things nobody else would ever think about.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep in touch through my articles. The next couple months I may not write a consistent article a week, but I will keep them coming. After my auction sale, I’ll be on the road, making my leisurely way south to the border. There are a couple hot springs I want to check out along the route. Once I get to Mazatlan and get settled, I hope to keep showing you what is going on out my back door.
(Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)