Bobby Maxwell showed up at my place at The Grove Apartments in 1977. “My girlfriend kicked me out, I need a place to hang my hat,” he said. He and I had roomed together previously and I had better housekeeping skills than him, so that was short lived. My cousin had just moved out and I had a spare bedroom and didn’t want to turn away a friend, no matter if he was a mess. I say “ok” and soon he brings in a duffle bag and is all moved in. One duffle bag...that’s all...he did manage to scrounge a bed the next day, but that was it.
I’ve often told this story about my now late friend who lived simply, didn’t let the world’s obsession with more and more tie him down. That is true freedom, a freedom we’re learning these days, if we’re lucky.
All the things we’re not doing now have given us that freedom if we choose to accept it.
How many times did I get on an airplane each year for the last few years and now that’s stopped. All those necessary business trips have proven not to be so necessary.
Zoom calls and even simple telephone calls have replaced the biz plans we’ve done previously without having to go on some grand conference adventure. Once out of date sending mailings has now picked up again over email blasts as they clog up the receiver’s email account.
Personal travel too….coming from Decelle Street in Fondren our family’s travel was mostly limited to seeing relatives, most between an hour or two away. A really big deal was going to Biloxi and staying in a cabin which in my childhood memory happened once as did a New Orleans trip, but there we stayed with friends of a relative, not at an out of our budget motel.
Laura and I have made a couple of trips to Biloxi for “real seafood” which we could get at home but getting away was the real deal. Saturday drives through the small towns of our state have been an easy and fun getaway and the pictures of sights have been well received on social media. Stopping in to see our friend Trish Berry and her husband Stan, owner of The Blue Biscuit in Indianola, just across from the BB King museum, was fabulous. Yes I want to go see friends Bill and Catherine Houlton in England but a drive to Indianola is a bit simpler than a flight across the pond! We have so many that are close to us emotionally and geographically it’s time to focus on them...even though we miss those far away.
Two years ago after arriving in Las Vegas for a trade show, riding past the new stadium being built, I thought about all the times I’ve been there, and all the changes I’ve seen. Two to four times a year since 1985. Thinking about how age is creeping up on me and my time for such trips will soon come to an end, and then Covid hit, and now I haven’t been there since!
Thinking of all the Vegas excitement and over the top hotels, shows and dining, a trip years ago with my simple living friend Bobby comes to mind. I had plenty of points so I invited him to go to the big trade show.
We stayed at the now modest Flamingo. I was going to show him some of the extravagance so common in Vegas and found him sipping on a longneck playing a penny slot machine.
“Come on, finish that and let’s go across the street to Caesar’s!” Bobby hit the button on the penny slot again, and said, “no, I’m fine.” “Come on” I said, “you need to see it.” “I’m good here” was his response. His response frustrated me, “how can you not want to see it?” I thought.
These days, in the midst of Covid and as my precious wife calls it, “the great pause,” I’m good here. I don’t need the extravagance. Keeping it simple is good. Glad to have had my friend Bobby put that in my head, so I can practice that during these times, and be happy.
It’s the end of the world as I knew it, and I feel fine.