The Moratorium Years Didn’t Work Out so Well for Me

29  90%  26%  5mph NNE bara29.84  falls windchill25 Imbolc

                 Waning Crescent of the Winter Moon

In spite of the fact that this is Minnesota, how soon we forget, I had REI all to myself this morning.  Monday morning shoppers scared back into their easy chairs by, gasp, SNOW.  OK, I did think about turning around and heading back, then “I am a Minnesotan and I am not afraid,” soared through my mind and on I drove.  Slippin’ and slidin’ to the mall.  Just like when I was a kid and we had to walk four blocks all the way downtown to buy a pair of shoes.

Anyhow, a helpful young lady, blond and cheerful, quite normal except for the hoop through the right nostril, which, I suppose, makes her normal in that world formerly inhabited by adults now over 60, guided me through the hiking/walking show selection process.  The first pair pretty much fit me, though they were a little snug.  Then, “Oh.  These are a women’s 8!”  Wouldn’t you know?  Still we did find an appropriately masculine pair of Keens, “They started out making water shoes so they know slick rock.”  One of the problems in hiking Hawai’i is water slicked rock;  I’ve learned this with bruised ankles more than once.

Nearer to  home at the Anoka Co-op I went searching for Minnesota cheese (Bongards, in this case) and Minnesota bread (oddly, Holy Land Pocket Bread, made in Minneapolis) for my presentation at the Woolly retreat.  Then, sliding my way back home.

All the while I listened to Tom Wolfe’s  I Am Charlotte Simmons.   Anyone who encountered college after academic stardom in a small-town high school, like me for instance, can identify all the over place with Charlotte Simmons, the little mountain girl from Sparta, North Carolina and a Presidential Scholarship.  Well, I never had a Presidential Scholarship, but there’s some connection, anyhow.  Wolfe has made a living out of closely observed novels of manners of our time, a sort of Dickensian project in hip, post-modern tongue in cheek prose.  This one may not be great literature, but it’s a great time-machine back to those magic years when everything seemed possible, if only you could figure anything out. 

Those moratorium years didn’t work out so well for me.  Instead of sticking to my guns or buckling down with heroic intention fortified by small town common sense and parental support, I got drunk, wasted, started smoking and wandered without purpose for so many years I don’t even know when I stopped.  Sigh.  Oh, I did fine academically, but not as well as I might have without the marijuana and hash–yes, I inhaled–the LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, beer, 151 rum, cognac and single-malt scotch.  I floated out of college and stayed afloat all through seminary and well into my first years in the ministry. 

Treatment.  Second divorce.  Flounder around.  Discover writing and Kate in the same year.  Now, in my final third of life, I’ve picked up steam and gotten the ole head and heart straightened out.  Thank Mother Earth.  Still, it is really better late than never.  I’m living proof.

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