Our late neighbor was a very quiet man, God rest his soul. We never really got to know him. He was a good neighbor but he kept to himself and his family. I was, however, friends with his wife, a gregarious woman and an avid, creative quilter. Many times over the years she told me that any time (which does not suggest frequency) that they went on a driving trip that carried them out of the county, the sight of the Lafayette water tower drew the comment "Back to civilization!" from Ray. I always listened to this story with a touch of incredulity, unable to grasp what Ray saw as civilization here in this one dog town (too poor to even have a horse).
I've lived here for many years now, though we've tried to escape many times. Having finally decided to stay has really changed my attitude toward the place. While I'm still challenged to embrace the town of Lafayette, I have fully embraced our place. I love the dreams we have for it, and would rather be here than almost any other place. Perhaps we are becoming a little bit like Ray, preferring each other and our space and being content within that space.
I just spent four and a half days away. I would certainly be lying to say that I did not enjoy my trip. I rang in the end of the world with my mom (which was a blast, I might add). I spent some quality time with a good friend. I spent two days with my oldest son in Bloomington, a town that will always hold a piece of my heart. But when we crossed back over the Tennessee line at the Bugtussle store, knowing that my sweetheart had baked bread and had supper on all I could think was:
"Finally! Back to civilization!"