Friday, September 25, 2009

Closing Doors

We have always enjoyed being in Dalhart. For Marty, it is home, for me it is a place of great memories: hunting, skiing, celebrations, good friends. Immediately after her Father's passing Marty spent a lot of time up here with her Mother and working to care for Arty's estate. Marty felt comfortable here because it was her home, because of her families friends. When we began to wrap up a lot of the estate business and we had Marty's Mom, Jean, comfortable in her new environment you could feel a door start to close on an important part of our lives.

I like being in Dalhart. I like the weather in Dalhart. I like the people in Dalhart. They are open, friendly people who look you in the eye and ask how they can help you. And they mean it. Marty and I both have deep attachments to the town and the people of this little panhandle community. This trip, this ride to Dalhart felt like we were closing the door on Dalhart a little more. Slowly all of our connections to this wonderful place are going away and slowly but surely all of our reasons for coming here are ending. It is part of life, it is part of moving on with life, it is a bit sad.

We celebrated Christmas a number of times in Dalhart. It didn't really seem like Christmas if we didn't go there and spend some time with the Watkins and their friends. Singing Christmas Caroles at the Steeles, eating at the Sands Restaurant, getting stuck in the snow were all part of our time in Dalhart. It was where I saw my first white Christmas. I don't know if we ever went skiing without going through Dalhart, many times going with Marty's parents. I can't really count the number of times I went pheasant hunting with Arty, his friends, my friends or Jerry's friends. Dalhart is where Arty shot me one hunting trip. I have bled for the town. It means a lot.

I know if Marty hadn't fallen ill we would have been here more often. I know she likes to come here and see her Mother. I know she is always willing to get in the van and make the trek because it means a lot to her to be here and see her home and see friends who have known her all her life. The multiple connections to her life, to our life, the history we both have here make our visits very meaningful and the thought of closing out this part of our life creates a certain sense of loss.

I know one of these trips up here we will have to sort of close out our relationship and our last connections to Dalhart. I know it is a natural part of life. I know it is part of growing up and growing older. I know even if we never come back here we will have wonderful memories of cold days and nights, pungent livestock smells and a sense of attachment and belonging not often felt this long. I really don't like closing doors.

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