Jacksonville & St. Augustine

Jacksonville, Florida. Just wandering through on my way to Kissimmee. I had decided I wasn’t going to mention this, but I suppose I’ll always have a fondness for Jacksonville. After all, I worked here, rambling these roads for Pony Express. Maybe it strikes me all the more, because of that, when I ramble through in a tractor-trailer.
I worked in Jacksonville, but I lived in St. Augustine. I won’t get close enough to St. Augustine to be nostalgic. I’ll wave as I go by. That’s about it.
It’s funny, really. I used to think that what happened to me in St. Augustine in 1991 was one of the great tragedies of my life. It was certainly a pivotal time. I lost what little I had that was dear to me. So it was a transformative experience. The person I was afterwards was very different from the person I was before. A better person, I think, if for no other reason than that I had been tempered by the proverbial flame. So much of my naivety and my romantic perception of the world around me was burned away.
The irony, I suppose, is that while I may wander familiar roads and look back at other days with something short of fondness (respect, maybe?), I realize that what happened to me in St. Augustine pales beside what happened to me in Kings Mountain. And however stunning my losses seemed to me in 1991, they were insignificant compared to those of 2006. That’s not an angry assessment. Just a realistic one. I think I’ve made progress from where I was this time last year. Emotionally, I mean. But I think it’s a bit early to try to see a glimpse of the man who came out the other side this last time. At least for me. Maybe others can see him.
I’ve blathered on long enough that now I’m approaching the St. Augustine exits. I’ll raise my bottle of diet green tea in respect to the ghosts of other days. And as we all must, I’ll keep on driving.
Really, if nothing else, I’m realizing that just as I don’t hate Faith for what happened in St. Augustine, I will never hate Mara for what happened in Kings Mountain. But they will both always possess a certain infamy in my recollections. Maybe the biggest difference between these two notable events is that I’m still trying to move on from the latter.
As much as it might pain my mother to know it, if she didn’t live in Kings Mountain, I’d never do anything more than raise my drink in salute to Kings Mountain, as I passed the exit on my way to somewhere else.

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