A few thoughts about Blue Springs and Shotgun Weddings

The thing about a blog or journal is…it should be personal. If not it then it becomes just a form of advertisement for yourself, your business, profession, etc. That’s not writing, not real writing. Nor is it what an artist might have in their sketchbook.

Fair disclaimer this blog is personal.

Yesterday I spent some time with a friend of mine. I took a few photographs of a place I often went as a child, Blue Springs State park. Everything there looked smaller than I remember it. As a child places seem outrageously huge and I have fond memories of summers spent in Clio Alabama and my aunt would carry my cousins and me here often.

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Blue Springs State Park, the old pool, Clio Alabama.

I reflected on this couple I had watched at the springs earlier. They were interesting because they seemed disconnected from the world. Not concerned with what others thought of them. Married with a pack of kids, they supervised.

One had a bass tattooed on his back his wife a gun with her husband’s and her name around it. If I’m radically honest about how life has meaning, I have concluded a simple life is better.

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My friend’s beautiful granddaughter Francis, shes got that radiator smile, one that will melt ice and make you feel good when its turned on.

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Lady Francis taking the plunge into 59 degree water..

After watching people at the park all afternoon I went to a place with a history I know, Money’s grill and reflected. I know the people, the dead ones, those alive, the places it moved around town through the decades. Always the same food, always the same menu. I sit at the same table, table “A”.

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Money’s Grill, Abbeville Alabama

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My favorite table at Money’s Grill.

This couple, I don’t know them and am only speculating, like many in this area have never been north of Atlanta nor south of Panama City beach. Their known world exists in between and is anchored in family. They are less concerned with the insanity of culture swirling around them and focused on things that matter. Knowing what I know now if I could change my life I would do things differently. I would immediately upon finding my woman, preferably not at college but when she turned 16 in high school, run away with her to Louisiana and marry her. If I were lucky, it would be a shotgun wedding (age of consent to marry is 16). She would be the only woman I ever kissed, saw nude or made love to. I would go to one church all my life. Probably eat at the same places and drive the same kind of truck. I would have been a cabinetmaker and created spaces with wood that had generations of children’s feet pitter-patter on them. After work, I would have driven my truck home and called it a day. The highlight of the day would be seeing her waiting for me, knowing I’m about to sit down and have dinner with my children by her side. My wife would be an extension of me and me one of her, our family an extension of us. Our lives defined by the home we made and family we raised. Modern culture tells us this is wrong, but I beg to differ.

It is nice to know what Heidegger said, understand Hegel, ponder Nietzsche …but does it matter? Does knowing what these men thought, about what we all have to experience, having a decent state school education followed by one in the ivy league make any real difference in the meaning of my life? Being radically honest, it does not. It is of little value to understanding why life is frustrating when regardless of what you know or how you live …it will be frustrating at times. Understanding frustration as Sarte did does not make it any less frustrating. This couple watching their kids play and try not drown themselves probably are happier than I will ever be. The irony of life is they don’t even know it. The challenge is to realize the value of those things and cherish them. To distill and focus one’s life on meaning. If your a landscape architect, you have some solace in the fact your creating places like the park at Blue Springs where everyday life gets to happen, so what you do really does matter. But not as much as how you live it.

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Still..for the record…..call me crazy if you wish, if I had my choice, I would have eloped with her at 15 on the eve of her 16th birthday and kept her pregnant for over a decade, and yes her ass would be as wide as a truck. We would not go to gyms, not know what yoga is and shop at the Piggy Wiggly not Whole Foods. But it wouldn’t have mattered one damn bit, she would still be hot potatoes and somewhere on my body at a secret place of her choosing, would be a heart with her name tattooed in it.

True love and a life well lived is as good as it gets.

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