Hohenwald was an ideal town for an adventurous boy but I don’t remember hating to leave there. As a preacher’s kid, life is different. Your life seems easier than my life in many ways and I used to wish I was just a car dealer’s son which is what I was till I was two but 2 young to enjoy it.

Everybody knows the preacher’s kid stays in trouble and was half mean. We had to be cause people of all ages picked on us. Old folks would pinch my jaw, Momma would pinch me in church, school kids would make jokes, and bullies were attracted to preacher’s kids, especially crew cut, red-headed, freckled face, straggled tooth, little preacher’s kids like me. So I had all this fun of moving to a new town and making new “friends” again… but I don’t remember dreading it.

My little sister Judie was born in Hohenwald and she was all the excitement at that time. Dad said to us years later, “You should know, that each one of you kids were planned.” Trying to let us know he wanted each of us… or was it to encourage us to plan our families? Either way, we were part of his plan and his plan part of God’s plan, and my life was therefore all planned. This moving from place to place shaped me into the wandering soul I am today. Many of my questionable people skills or lack of them is a result of creating new friends… and leaving friends, which was harder than creating them.

Now, I feel tied to no land and I often compare my spirit to that of a tumbleweed, resting only when the wind don’t blow. Alive, but without roots and happy to be that way. My wife, on the other hand, is an oak in my metaphor. She has roots, deep roots, right here and can not and will not be uprooted and she is my anchor, the very thing that holds me near. She is my best friend, one I will never leave… that’s my plan. But I will take her places, even more than I have already and that’s a lot. I am a tumbleweed and I feel the wind pickin’ up.

So as I was saying, the move to Clarksville, TN was exciting. Usually Dad would carry the family, before he “took” a new church, by ‘the manse’ where we would live. In those days, the church owned the house and the preacher lived in it. No choice was offered, so you better like the house (parsonage or manse). And of course, we usually did.

On the way to look at the house that might be our next home, we passed the big beautiful Clarksville CP Church. It was the biggest church yard with giant trees and roses and the front had a 25’ tall stainedglass center piece that looked like the first wonder of the world to me. Then we passed the new school we would attend, Barksdale, and it had a pool, a racing pool, and a swim team, and it was modern and round and way cool. Back then, a pool at a school was rare and I loved to swim and dive and again I thought I had found heaven. On down the big road we went until it was kinda the edge of town and a big putt putt golf and skating rink sat on the corner of the new road to our future house. I couldn’t believe the amount of things I loved that were waiting on me to conquer them. We traveled down the street and I am still looking back in awe at the putt putt when Dad says, “It’s this one” and we turned in to take a look.

Always glad to get out of the car, I bolted around the yard and to this side and that side, and was let down that there was no apple tree to climb. This would be my first yard without anything obvious to climb, so I went in the back door to find my family, deciding which bedroom was whose and discussing where the furniture and such would go. So I went back outside and took another look around… to see which way the wind blows and wonder which house holds my next “friend” and how cool it was gonna be to ride my bike in this new, not much traffic, neighborhood. And then I saw the ball field… neighbor baseball field, with a backstop wide enough to stop a bad pitch, with a dirt pathway where the base lines were worn out from singles and doubles and home runs. And life was good as we loaded back up in the car to go back to Hohenwald to say our goodbyes and pack our things.

We all helped Momma wrap newspaper around the glass stuff and label boxes and tape ‘um up and before you realized it, boxes were everywhere waiting on the movers to load it up and haul it away.

I wondered how I was to ever see my good friend Johnny Tucker again or Bill Grimes or Mr. Claude or Mr. Dardin, but Daddy assured me we would visit them from time to time and that seemed to ease me.

A lot of chatter from Momma and Dad and LuAnne and me asking all kinds of questions about our new town and Dad would try to answer them till now “sit back and shut up” took over his mood. And we did and as I remember we beat the moving van to Clarksville and every other house we moved to for that matter.

And when they did get our stuff to Clarksville, they couldn’t get my bike out of the van fast enough. I had exploring on my mind and as I peddled off I heard Momma say, “Don’t go far.” “OK Mom”,I promised back peddlin head up and feet workin and of course I went to far, which was a distance equal to how far you can hear Momma call your name, plus a little.

And in the house, we had a fireplace and there I got my first lesson “of what to far is” and the movers were still carrying in stuff. “Son, you mind your mother and don’t you scare her like that again.” After that, I got permission to go to far. And the Clarksville expedition was on and I was excited, til I got to school. New schools are hell… just sayin’ …. Next entry…..

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