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Jeanie and Hank, part one June 23, 2014

Posted by vsap in Blogroll.
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Henry Jameson stood surveying the view from Brasstown Bald. The north Georgia mountains provided a sanctuary, a respite from frenzy urban living and a successful consulting practice.

“Hank, why don’t you come over her and sit,” his wife Jean of thirty-five years urged him, as she pulled up a rocker to the right of him. He turned as she proffered a cup of coffee, still steaming. He smiled gently. He could hardly say no.

“Jeanie,” he replied, “Why don’t we call it quits and stay up here permanently?” He accepted the coffee and pulled a rocker, the twin of Jean’s close to her.

“That’s a wonderful idea we’ve discussed every time we come up here. What? We bought the place fifteen years ago now? Your threats are hollow, Hank,” she said with a slight sneer in her voice. For the past ten years she was hoping he’d just say yes and they would sell the large home on Paces Ferry in Buckhead and simplify their lives. Hope was all she had.

“I know. I know,” he said in resignation, maybe even a tone of confession, that it was an empty promise at best.

They sat together for a long time, staring at the beauty of the forest and mountains.

“But, you know, it’s almost too peaceful for me,” Hank finally broke the silence, “I like it in these small doses. A weekend. Maybe even a week. Then, I need to get back to it. I want to get back to it.”

“You can’t find your worth here,” Jean observed, “No one calling on you. No one needing your counsel or pursuing you for your influence. And you can’t see that its dust. Someone was there before you. Someone will come along after you. The work never ends.”

“You don’t have much use for legacy, do you?” Hank retorted.

“Your children. Your grandchildren. They are you legacy. Jameson & Simmons LLC, it’s just a shingle hanging over Peachtree Street. It’s not who you are, it’s what you do,” Jean said, not chiding him so much as reminding him of what is really important.

“A guy thing, right?”

“A Hank thing at least.”

Jean thought about their children. Kelly, twenty-nine, mother of three boys, living with her husband in Memphis. He is working on a management career for a manufacturer of electrical equipment. They could get to Atlanta on holidays and when the odd conference would land at the World Congress Center or Marriott Marquis. Seth, a son they adopted when he was three, now twenty-five, and working in route sales with Pepsi’s energy drink division. It wouldn’t be his life’s work but it suited him well enough for now. Living in Decatur offered him the night life and women that he wanted, not ready to settle for anything or anyone yet. He called a couple of times a week and it wasn’t out of character for him to simply drop in to see Mom and Dad to watch the seventy-inch television and yammer with Hank about whatever sports was on at the moment.

“Where does the time go?” she said absently, not meaning for it to be audible.

“It’s a hummingbird, isn’t it?”

“Yes. So beautiful and so quickly gone.”

“Look,” Hank said, “There’s one of those square dance places down the road. Why don’t we go down there tonight?”

“Maybe.”

Hank looked back over the mountains. North Carolina out there not too far north from their place. Maybe Jeanie would like Pigeon Forge instead. Spend the afternoon in the shops and have dinner then scoot back, he thought.

“Is it a good day?” Hank asked. it was the subject that everything hinged on. Jeanie was a breast cancer survivor but it had returned and he knew she had good days and bad days.

“Yes. It is a good day. I just don’t want to push it.,” she replied hoping that her eyes would tell him otherwise and he would relent with out a fight. He let it be.

“I know you get restless so why don’t you go into town after while. Get a drink and play some pool and get back by dark. Hows that?” she asked.

“Sure. I’ll think on it,” Hank said and let it escape him before his next thought.

They rocked in silence for most of the morning, Hank getting up now and then for coffee, always returning softly, touching Jeanie’s hand as he sat next to her. That was his job up here – to simply sit with his wife. Hours at the office and on the road set aside for these fleeting times when he could be present, in the moment, with her alone. She had to share him with the world and the children back in Atlanta. here, he was all hers. That was her story and she was going to stick to it.

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