The Gathering of the Clan, Chapter Four (The Final Chapter) (No, really, this is it)  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I know all three of my loyal readership has been waiting with bated breath for this saga to be continued, but vacation was over and I had to return to my place of employment and try and remember what it is I do for a living. It was a rude shock. And they actually expect me to go back……….sigh, guess I will……I love those damn paychecks………

Check- out time for the cabin was 10 am, and since sleep was already elusive for me, I got easily into the flow of repacking the car for the return trip. Steve headed off with one family for a ride to the airport and Tammy headed off with her Sister Lisa to visit with her and some friends and other family before she would head back herself. We said our goodbyes, and for me personally…….it was hard. I had perhaps a dozen reasons for dreading our parting, including fears I might not see either of them again, etc, etc….. Yes, I have two brand new "Sisters" whom I keep in contact with fairly regularly, but there's always that dreaded "drift" factor…….time will tell.

We then headed over to the camping and RV sites to give some last minute hugs and goodbyes, and then it was off in the direction of home. My mind was racing a mile a minute with the experiences of the last three days, but I managed to navigate in the general direction of Florida without mishap. THE Wife, being a witch and all and generally interested in just about ANY flavor of folk magic, wanted to stop off at the French Quarter of NAWLINS and see if we could find any genuine Voudoun (Voo Doo) or Wiccan magic shops. Me, now, I am the nervous type when it comes to driving into strange urban territory (I HATE driving into what passes for a downtown here in Jacksonville) but I put on my "cool" face and managed to find a parking space without getting run over by a some street car named Desire or getting mugged by a friendly denizen of the Mardi Gras city. Never saw ONE cop the whole time we were there. Guess law enforcement is a luxury there these days. However, chaos didn't appear to be reigning, so we made our ways up and down a relatively short stretch of Bourbon Street and didn't find anything that seemed more genuine than a tourist trap. Plenty of GAY bars, yes, but real spirituality? Yea……….right………

We got back in the car and I phoned our friends in Mobile, and was reassured that YES, they would LOVE to put us up for one more night on this return trip! Especially since I bribed them with the offer of a serving of my cousin Julie's crawfish etoufee! We finally arrived back in Mobile, had no problem re-locating the house, and once again we shared a very pleasant night of gossip, camaraderie, and recipes. THIS time, however, they allowed us to remove the mattress from their bed-frame and substitute our air mattress and I finally got some measure of real sleep for the first time in four days. Amazing what a relatively warm room can do for zen and the art of air mattress filler physics!

Julie and Blan, I cannot tell you how much your friendship and the sharing of your home meant to me and THE Wife. And I sincerely hope that the authorities will never be able to trace our morbid activities to your doorstep! (Private joke, see "serial killers" in previous chapter). Whenever you desire to visit the Oldest City in the New World, or anything else in this general vicinity, you know where to rest your bones. Pendragon Hold awaits you!

Oh, sorry, allow me to backtrack and insert this between New Orleans and Mobile…….

We once again avoided the attentions of the Big White SUV's of the Mississippi Highway Patrol (explain to me how the poorest state in the union can afford the gas to run down speeders in THOSE gas hogs…….no wonder they can't afford anything else!) and I found the exit off Interstate TEN that led to my childhood…….that childhood I spoke of a few times in past episodes of the Chronicles that has haunted me even to this day. I now know that it is indeed true, you CANNOT go "home" again if for no other reason that "home" after thirty years can simply disappear. Yes, I had one hell of a time placing what was in my memory with what the landscape now revealed; so much change and homes and structures coming and going and nothing looking the same as it did, except for a couple of hard and fast landmarks, like a small bridge over a small creek (which seemed like a great span over a raging gorge to a small 7 year old) and the general shape of the roads that had not changed over the years. I did not see where anyone I might have known way back then might still be living who might remember me, and I was not really in a mood to go looking for that anyway. Closure did not need that and this was about closure. This is finally the end of that story. Life can now go on.

We now resume leaving Mobile, in progress……….

We said our goodbyes, not forever I sincerely hope, to Jules and Blan and finished off the final leg of our journey back to Pendragon Hold. Talk about anti-climactic! THE Wife had enjoyed an interesting vacation but for me it was cathartic. That night, in front of the television, I think it was ABC World News Tonight, they aired a story concerning a woman who ran a foundation which provided prom dresses to foster girls who otherwise would not be able to have them. Yes, it was a trigger, and manly man Michael broke down and let it all out. I remember one Christmas when my case worker, Mr Necaise if I remember correctly, brought me a box of games and toys and stuff from Carol Burnett's charity for foster children. And yes……"I had always depended upon the kindness of strangers…." Did the bastard write that line for people like me? Well, thank the Gods, I no longer need to feel that way. I now depend on the love of my family, a family I hope and "pray" I will never lose again. Thank you all so very much. I've finally come home.


These last six months or so my whole being has been all about this reunion; the planning, the saving, the arguing about it, the expectations, the communications with newly discovered relatives I barely knew, and all the angst and inner-child turmoil all this stirred up inside of me. So, where do I go from here? This, my friends, is an undiscovered country, and the landscape before me is fresh and new and yes, in some ways intimidating. My life is no longer "All about THE Michael" and believe me, it's about time. I now have special relationships with special people and aside from whatever happens with me personally here at Pendragon Hold, my life is now intertwined to some extent with people I may not even get a chance to see again but whom I know are there for me, in one fashion or another. I have even had to radically adjust my feelings about some of these people, for reasons that are personal to me if not to them. It's all good. And, one day, I hope that once again, as seems providence dictates, the oldest will share something profound with the youngest, and the circle of life will continue as it should, if not necessarily how we would like it to. I think most of us would call that "faith".

Blessed Be!

This entry was posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 at Monday, March 29, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

10 slick comments

What a wonderful story! I just read all four chapters... all the pictures are lovely too! Thank you for sharing!

March 29, 2010 at 5:26 PM

OMGosh! What a wonderful story. Thank you for letting us participate in our own little way.

(((HUGS))) to you Michael & to THE Wife too!


March 30, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Julie and Blan, You are welcome for giving The Michael that with which to bribe you! LOL I hope you enjoyed the Etouffee! - THE Julie

March 31, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Wow, what an emotional journey! So glad I could be a part of it. :)

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