Several years ago my wife, Carol, and I crafted an escape plan. When both kids were through college, plus two years, we'd sell the house and move somewhere on a coast. The rejuvenating salt air, the symphony of crashing waves and the occasional view of a shrimp boat outside the window — that was the grand plan.
Now with one kid out of college and the other heading into year three, we are rethinking our strategy. Our enthusiasm for the coastal experience hasn't waned but the realization of what would be left behind is starting to come into focus.
When you pull up stakes and move you leave so much behind. There are of course friends, but it is so much more — stuff you don't really consider until you start planning your exit.
Like leaving the home we have painted, decorated, hopefully improved and become familiar with. I know where it creaks, where the Christmas lights are best stored and why the porch door is scratched.
I have a regular running route through Sandy Springs I use about four days per week, and I'm used to all the other runners — and their dogs — that I encounter. Not to mention the older gent who collects recyclables as he walks.
Speaking of dogs, where would we find a vet who comes to us? Our guy is a retired Army vet who comes to his clients. And for emergencies we have the overnight clinic in the same building that once housed my pediatrician.
We're dug in around town. The tellers at the bank know us. The lady who oversees the self-service lane at the grocery store is always looking out for us. We know what days certain stores put out the sale merchandise. My wife is on a first-name basis with the folks at Costco. I, however, am known as "Carol's husband."
I know exactly where to go to get just about anything we need. Usually at the best price.
I would miss the rowdy ladies who come to the house annually to celebrate my wife's birthday. Their energy and passion have made that day one of the highlights of the calendar.
I would miss the gardens my wife has crafted through the years. I'm finally starting to learn the names of some of the plants, and I would hate to disturb my botanical education.
Perhaps that old plan should be altogether scraped in favor of a new one that points toward buying a second home on the coast. No idea about how we'd swing that, but the wonderful quality with dreams is that they often come true.
In the meantime, if you see me around town and I thump my chest twice, hold up four fingers and make the "L" sign with my thumb and index finger I'm just declaring myself "Sandy Springs for Life."
Jim Osterman has lived in Sandy Spring since 1962.
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