Vanessa and Rodger: Moving Day

“And that’s the only thing I need is this.  I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray… And this paddle game. – The ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need… And this remote control. – The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need… And these matches. – The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control, and the paddle ball… And this lamp. – The ashtray, this paddle game, and the remote control, and the lamp, and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one… I need this. – The paddle game and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches for sure. “

The Jerk


Vanessa and her husband, Rodger, came to visit in the spring of 2011. It was so wonderful to spend time with them.  My boyfriend made margaritas and we had a good time. Actually, I drank far too much that day. Vanessa and Rodger knew something was not right but being the least judgmental people in the world ever, they didn’t say a word.  Their discreet actions led me to know that I had friends and that they would be there for me if I ever wanted to help myself.

Vanessa and I graduated from high school together. We were close. She came from Port Arthur and I was from Biloxi. We were both the youngest in our deeply southern families. We both grew up in yacht clubs around sailing. We shared a silly, goofy sense of humor. We have never agreed on politics but that never got in our way.  She is sensible and I, well, I am not.  We were in touch on and off through the years. Really more off than on.  But we were there. Somewhere.

When I talked to Vanessa, she never judged me or my boyfriend, or the living situation I was in. In fact, she embraced him and liked him. She saw, however, that it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships, that I was not making the best choices. She waited for me to realize that I had to make changes. She never said “this is what you must do,” but when I explained the situation and what I would try to do to solve my problem, she told me she was glad that I saw it that way. The name Vanessa is synonymous with the word supportive.

When I finally found my little cabin the logistics of moving became yet another obstacle in my attempt to fix my life. I was trying so hard not to spend much money. There was no one in the area who I felt comfortable asking for help. I didn’t want to hire movers when I was moving to a tiny place to save on rent. I couldn’t do it alone although me being me I actually thought about it!

So one day while sitting in Starbucks, Vanessa and Rodger gave me a call. It’s just one of those “just calling to see how you are” kinds of calls. No sooner had I told Vanessa that I was moving than Rodger asked if I needed help. I am embarrassed to say that I responded with a very quick “yes!” Probably too quick.  This was just before Christmas.

Vanessa and Rodger are so amazing. New Year’s weekend and their 28th wedding anniversary they drove up from Houston (excuse me, Perland) and helped me move. Rodger even brought a bag filled with good books and music cds for me.  After I spent a week giving away three full car loads of stuff to Goodwill, I packed what I needed and Vanessa and Rodger, and I loaded up a U-Haul truck. They waited patiently while I stood in the front yard of the house I had lived in with my soul mate and cried.

Together we lifted, pushed, pulled, rolled, dropped my large sectional, my awkward-shaped entry table with the large mirror I was sure would break on New Year’s Eve, and a bed made of mesquite and iron.  Together we took the door off the hinges in order to get the washer and dryer out. We drove the 25 miles to my little cabin and unloaded. For all the heavy lifting, packing, and maneuvering, the most important thing they did for me was be there. No hired movers could have understood the meaning behind the move I was making. This wasn’t just a move from one dwelling to another. This was a life changing event and it was intentional. I was taking a bold step in my life and Vanessa and Rodger were there to see me through.  Rodger never once lost his patience and Vanessa kept her sense of humor throughout. This is what friends do.

I am learning that I can’t live this life alone. No one can. We all need each other. Part of learning to take care of yourself is learning when to ask for help. As stubborn as I am, I could not have moved my furniture without help.  Without the help of a long list of friends and family, I would not be living independently and alone in my little cabin. 

We spent New Year’s Eve together, the three of us, sipping champagne under the big Texas sky on the porch of my little cabin. Well, actually Rodger hit the hay pretty early and Vanessa and I caught up on “girl talk.” But the stars were infinite in number and clear and perfect.

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