Forgotten No More

8 07 2021

I’m back.

Nothing like a little adversity to push you to the keyboard. Life’s been tough but I have come to expect no less. I’m still at the warehouse. How my body has endured is a mystery, but if there is a silver lining from eight months of hard labor it’s that I’m damn sure physically fit for a guy my age.

Pushing tote tanks for 10 hours is still not something I want to be doing very much longer. On my own time, I am taking cloud computing classes. Learning new technical skills is exciting and I enjoy the challenge.

Last month I returned to Florida to see my father who had suffered a series of strokes. My mother is doing an admirable job caring for him even while she continues to work. My brother helped get Dad home from the hospital and I followed a week later to provide support in any way I could.

Mostly it was getting Dad up and down the stairs. I also sat with him as he watched old westerns at extremely loud volume on television. We didn’t talk much. He is still trying to regain basic functions. It was difficult to see him this way. As soon as I entered the house, I greeted him with a kiss to his temple to let him know I came with love.

It was nice to be back in the slow pace of the Florida panhandle again. Determined to leave politics and personal frustrations behind in Portland, I approached in a humble spirit. I was surprised to see the lingering damage of Hurricane Michael and realized the region is still very much in the recovery process. My time on the west coast had also sharpened insight for planning and engineering and I keenly took note of dimensions and intersections from the airport to my parents’ front door.

The humidity didn’t bother me as much as the string of unsequenced traffic lights on the main highway into Panama City. My rental car was a Toyota Prius which stuck out like a elite green thumb among all the loud full size pick-up trucks. It was a quiet ride to Port St. Joe and it took longer than the flight from Atlanta to Panama City.

Hence the nickname “Forgotten Coast.”

Coming back to where I spent my high school and college years was an emotional rush that triggered a lot of memories. Oddly enough, I was glad to be here, but wished the circumstances were different. I was optimistic Dad would survive but knew it was time for some difficult decisions to be made about care going forward.

I helped my mother bathe and dress him. He had done the same for me many years ago. Life’s unavoidable circle.