God or Goodwill

May 22, 2023

Hello, and the happiest of days to Y’all!

I hope you had the most beautiful of weekends!

My husband Lee and I have quietly considered selling our Upstate home for a while. In preparation for a move, we rented a storage unit in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Some of you may know that our house sits on land that originally belonged to my Great Grandparents. If you knew me, you would know selling it was a big deal because Hickory Tavern has always held a special place for me for many reasons.

When I was really young, I thought Hickory Tavern was the most idyllic little place on the Earth. My rose-colored glasses were not limited just to the community. Back then, I thought my home life, while messed up, was nowhere near as screwed up as it was.

Lee and I had contemplated selling before. Once after, I was fired from my teaching job for refusing to change grades for a select few students, and many times after multiple and different family feuds stemming from misunderstandings or animosity that I will never understand came to light. Who wants to be in the midst of a family or a community that openly and sometimes publicly lets their resentments be known? We always kept it secret except to our closest circle. Even though I like to share, I can be quiet about things too.

We were all set to sell until Lee fell off the ladder and got a head injury. Once he recovered, we were all set again, but then we changed our minds. We talked and agreed that we had built a beautiful Sanctuary. That was saying a lot for a place that, for me growing up, was tragically filled with a lot of pain and suffering. Not only had our house literally burned to the ground before me as a child, my family life had been ablaze too, but my little child’s coping mechanism was to see it as anything but such. With a lot of therapy and time, I realized this property also held a whole lot of love that Lee and I poured our hearts and Souls into. So, when we are in the Upstate, it is still home.

My sister moved out to Oregon a year or so ago, and it has thrilled me to hear about her and my brother in love being around people who are kind and loving. She told me how awesome it has been to be somewhere nobody knows you and you get a fresh start. Their friends Willette and Brooke make me want to move to Oregon. Sure, there are still rude people, but they don’t feel the small-town judgment. I get it because we have that on Kiawah, which is why it is our Happy Place.

Sorry, I digressed. When Lee and I are in the Upstate, we shop in Simpsonville, South Carolina, because it is the closest shopping place to Hickory Tavern. Friday evening, we needed a few items from Publix and decided to go ahead and get those.

When we arrived, I parked, popped out of the car, and almost ran smack dab into another Hickory Tavernite. I said hello, called her name, and said how are you. She stared straight through me while sidestepping, so we didn’t kiss because we were pretty much that close. What does one say to that? Bless her, I guess! That is not a waa waa…no self-pity here—just an observation. I bet you have been here too.

I turned and asked Lee if he had witnessed my totally embarrassing moment. He had not. He asked me what was wrong with her, and I said I had no clue, but she hurt my feelings. He side-hugged me and said I am so sorry, but screw her and smiled. I proceeded for the next — more time than I would like to admit — wondering what on Earth would make her so snotty.

Was she having a bad day? Did someone in her family die, and I missed it? Or was she snubbing me because she was being rude? I know the energy, and I didn’t think it was the first two, so, as Tyler Perry’s Madea would say, I picked door number three, Alex.

After being gaslit by many for much of my life, I have learned to gaslight myself. I started to wonder if I had mistaken her for another person. But, nope, it was her. She was younger than me, but we were on the same church softball team back in the day at good ole Rabon Creek when her mom married a friend of mine’s dad. She was a cute little girl and sweet back then.

I try to avoid meanness, even if I despise a person. So instead of a big ole f you, I will give a Hey, how are you doing? I don’t know if that is conditioning or because I try to take the high road when possible. I think a little of both but continually aspire to the latter. My hello to her was genuinely genuine but gullible, apparently.

Lee and I left Publix and stopped by the storage unit. We pulled out a couple of boxes and brought them back home. They have been there for several years now. Since we’ve decided not to sell our home, we have been slowly going through the things we packed up. I am finding that I put many things in storage that I did not need or use. When we finished going through the two boxes, I had one of the boxes filled and ready to take to Goodwill.

Reflecting, I knew that I had stored things in containers and in other places, too, my mind and heart. The meanness of people. Desperately holding on to situations or people where I have been shown that I was not wanted. Because I desperately wanted to be wanted — don’t we all — I clung to any crumbs that said I might be even when it was brutally apparent that was not the case. I still do that sometimes.

As I boxed up the things I realized I didn’t need, I thought of the snub and how I have been mean to others intentionally, too, and I am so sorry for that. Then, finally, I thought of how I had grown beyond that person and no longer needed to be her.

Yesterday Lee and I made another trek up to storage. But, this time, I wasn’t obsessing over my feelings being hurt. Instead, I thought of how lucky I am to have Lee and those who love me. Damn, I am one lucky gal!

That said, some truly wonderful people remain in Hickory Tavern. Too many to mention here, as a matter of fact. Their bright lights remind me that there is kindness and love. Without a doubt, every place has miserable folks who will one day die and probably be just as miserable when they reach the Other Side as they were here.

Not me! I might wallow in hurt feelings for a bit, but then I will think of my Mama and know I would much rather be like her than them.

What are you storing? Do you hold onto things too that really don’t serve you? I must admit that purging has been extraordinary, and I mean on multiple levels.

I know for sure that I want to keep my Mama’s old tea pitcher that we used growing up, which is pictured above. Mama’s tea was always sweet and delicious. I also know that I want my life to be just like the tea pitcher and my Mama — filled to the rim — sweet and delicious.

I will be giving the rest to God or Goodwill.

Have a great day!

With Much Love,


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