My Lousy World

The distance that divides

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Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Possibly in some cases, but the breakup with my fiancée happened in 1989 and these last couple years, I find myself dreaming about her less and less.

There’s something to a lost proximity compelling one to focus stronger on the beloved absentee. But it’s also true that when one tries weaning oneself from sweets, that initial torturing urge slowly fades. Science tells us a habit is broken in an average 21 days. When I quit drinking for 18 months once, that’s about how long it took before my truck quit drifting towards the 3-H bar — pretty much totally against my will — after a hot day’s roofing.

Take my family … please! Thirty miles has left the Bloughs a disjointed unit these recent years, and I blame your community of Powell. Don’t get me wrong: I love your town with its Plaza Diane, college crowd, tree-lined streets and Taco Bus, but it’s claimed Blough after Blough.

The migration first began maybe some 20 years ago, when niece Stacey married a rodeo-clown-turned jack-of-many-trades, Scotty Brown, and relocated. In June of 2007, nephew Rusty, Krista and their red-headed imps, Noah and Sammy for some reason made the move and a few months later, Stacey’s parents, Jess and Marti, also moved back east to Powell.

The profuse bleeding just wouldn’t stop. Once niece Amber moved back from Laramie several years ago, she too set up shop 30 miles away, so now you’ve got a baker’s dozen Powell Bloughs with only eight left in Cody. It begs the question, “Can a Blough house divided still stand?”

Oh, there used to be lots of family get-togethers in both towns, especially when my parents and sister Wanda were still alive and visiting from Pennsylvania. The Park County Fair was a great matchmaker and once, when all the great nieces and nephews were in toddlerhood, Wanda rushed over to my girlfriend and me gasping, “Nobody can find Jessie and Tessa; they just disappeared!”

We joined the panicked search that ended when we saw the ragamuffin cousins stepping off the Ferris wheel hand-in-hand. Somehow they navigated their own ride, though not tall enough to even pass the height requirement for a ride in a wagon. Oh how the Bloughs chortled in united, relieved revelry.

But in these later years, with all three brothers now somewhat long-in-the-tooth (well, Paul and Jess anyway), cross-interminglement (look it up; I bet it’s a word) has slowed to a crawl. The little kids are now adults and teenagers with their own school activities and Jess and Marti are at their second home in Alamogordo for months at a time. 

Sure, I could go visit them in New Mexico, but I’ve never had a desire to see foreign countries, especially ones with drug cartels, and soon that Trump wall will make it almost impossible. I’m well tuned-in with the activities of Cody Bloughs and what Jay and Cindy’s kids are into — Trey is married and Taylor will be in months. But I barely know the ages of Stacey’s brood anymore.

I recently found out “little Katie” is also getting married this summer and I haven’t even met the young fellow. Who knows how tall the oldest, Matt, is by now? Each time I see him I’m craning my neck even more and for all I know, he’s 7-feet by now. This long-distance has forced me to miss so many milestones in their lives.

The twins Jessie and Nate are in high school and, short of watching a few of their sporting events when Powell does battle with Cody, I seldom see them. It bothers me I wasn’t even there to see their first respective kisses, if indeed that coming-of-age moment has even arrived yet. I’m told Stacey cleans houses and businesses, yet I live in a pig sty and never the twain shall meet. It’s sad.

I suppose I should take the reins, force myself from my musty cocoon once in a while and start making the long drive to initiate family activities again. But for now, the question remains: “What, and how now, thou Powell Brown/Blough?”

My Lousy World

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