Spent the weekend just past back in Colorado, helping my own dear Mrs. Animal get what’s left of my workshop organized for the movers. In so doing, I almost certainly spend my last couple of nights in the house that was our family home for twenty-three years. That bears a moment’s reflection.
I moved to Colorado in September of 1988, after a stint in the Army. Back then it was South Wyoming, although some of the urban rot was starting to creep into the Denver area, and Boulder was already pretty nutty, although the nuttiness was at least contained. I moved west for the fishing, the hunting, all the outdoors activities, and Colorado did and still does have those and to spare; in fact, I’ll still come down regularly to join loyal sidekick Rat on deer and elk hunts.
But the state has gone too far left to suit me now. It’s East California these days. Plenty of people are looking to places like Texas and Florida now when dealing with blue-state blues, but Mrs. Animal and I have always been drawn north, and indeed began looking with thoughtful eyes at Alaska since well before Colorado went off the deep end. So here we are. We are moving north for the fishing, the hunting, all the outdoors activities, and Alaska, even more so, does have those and to spare.
Second, the home:
Mrs. Animal and I actually bought our first house together the month before we got married, a small, three-bed, one-bath starter home in Aurora. It was a nice little house, but it was a little house. We had a growing family, so about a year after our youngest was born we started looking for a bigger place. In the spring of 1998, my career was taking off and we started house-shopping. We did examine some properties with acreage out on the plains east of the city, but the commute (this was before work-from-home was a possibility, much less a preference for anybody) and the fact that the areas we were looking at were already being zoned up for development deterred us. “If we’re going to live in town,” Mrs. Animal said, “we may as well live in town.” So we eventually found this place, the big, rambling, 4600-square foot barn of a house where we raised our family.
Our kids all remember it as the house they grew up in. To them, it’s home, even though they all have their own homes now. To Mrs. Animal and I, it’s a twenty-three year store of memories, of our kids, our grandchildren, of work, of happy events and sad ones, of life lived and family loved. A big part of us will always be there with that house. When you’ve lived in a place that long you become a part of it, and it, a part of you.
So it’s kind of a thoughtful moment. But life is water, not stone, and I’ve always been the kind of guy who prefers to look ahead instead of back. And now we look ahead to our golden years in the Great Land, breathing the free air of Alaska, and knowing some reflective moments but not a moment’s regret – no, not one single moment of regret.