But, Fru wanted to go "home" for Xmas.
Well. Okay. I mean, I wasn't too keen on it. I would have been happy with just a small nuclear Xmas in our rented house, but, she had come all the way down to Florida for me and she was working full time and how could I say "No"? I couldn't. Besides, I liked Fru's family. I liked Xmas in Champaign on the whole. So, we drove up there when the time came.
And it was nice enough. We stayed at Fru's father's place. I saw people I'd known and went out and around with them a bit. But something was nagging at me the whole while. And I knew what it was one evening as I ran around with Fru's sister's husband (her brother-in-law and therefore, I guess my brother-in-law--Dan--who I always got along with the best and who gave me work now and then). Dan and I were out one night, I think we went to the Tumble Inn, and were coming back with Dan always taking the side streets to get around and it was dark and cold-frozen, the streets were empty of people and there was snow blowing. Little wisps of snow looking like fog being blown by a frigid wind across the steppes of Champaign. And I felt a great dread. I felt like I had not gone away and was still living in that town and that--even if it was true that we had moved and had settled in Fort Lauderdale--I would be coming back to live there again soon.
Okay. Champaign is a nice town. It's no different than many of the Iowa towns I like. But, as I've said, I had mixed feelings about that place and spent six years there, most of those six years spent trying to get out. And I had gotten out. But then I was back. Back in town during the desperate winter months and I felt like I was desperate, too.
But, it wasn't so. Because Xmas came and went and we packed up our Volvo and I pulled out of her father's driveway and we--Fru, First Daughter, Second Daughter and I--hit Interstate 57 with snow on the ground and drove south: Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia.
We drove home.