Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday
I’ll be gone away from you.
Way back in 1987 I married my soul mate. I knew that cool September morning in 1996 when I first met her that she was the one. I told everyone that I talked to that day that I had just met my wife. A mere eight months later, it would become a reality. Just shy of my twenty-seventh birthday and six months past her twenty-eighth, yes I married the older woman. I would love to say that it has been a union of total harmonious bliss, but that would be a lie, and you would likely not believe me anyway. However, it has been a true union of sharing and commitment to one another. We have seen some hard times and reveled in some good.
We decided before we tied the knot that neither of was wanted children, we shared personal reasons why and committed that if our feelings ever changed we would look into adoption first. Twenty one years and nearly forty dogs and cats later, (We chose to become foster parents for unwanted furry four legged children.) we are about to welcome into our home a young man whom over the last several months we have grown very fond.
Anthony comes to us through a family friend, back in November I was asked to assist Anthony’s family with a crisis, which I was glad to do. Little did I realize that I was about to make a connection that would have a profound impact on my life. I had met Anthony on a previous occasion but it was nothing more than a brief introduction. This time we had a chance to bond and we soon came to realize that we are soul brothers, even though we are thirty years apart.
After several months we found out we had so much in common, our love of nature, the environment, and of living a simpler life. We both find pleasure in sitting on the creek bank and watching the water go by. We enjoy growing our own vegetables and foraging for berries and wild edible foods. And we prefer an evening sitting on the front porch enjoying a sunset to watching television. I soon came to recognize that Anthony, in many ways was a mirror image of my younger self.
As I have gotten older, there have been times that I wondered if not having children was the best decision we made. Selfish thinking I guess as I usually think about it the most when there is much work to do, and an extra hand would be handy. I have always wanted to live in the mountains but was in my early forties before this became a reality. Anthony had visited us here at the RiverRest and like with us, it was love at first sight.
Anthony has spent his life growing up in the city and has been able to find solace in a small patch of woods behind his house. But he was never really happy as it was just a temporary solution to what was to be an impending doom for someone like him. Like an animal trapped in the false environment of a zoo, he began to wonder if this was going to be the life he was to endure.
Talking one day, I realized his discontent and his desire to seek a life more suited to his beliefs and interests. I told him that he was welcome to stay with us anytime he liked. I remember his face lit up and he exclaimed, “You mean to live.” “Sure” I said, “As long as it’s alright with your family.” Several weeks later his mother and I talked, I was not aware at the time that she and Anthony had already discussed this and she was very supportive, as is the rest of his family.
Tomorrow I embark on a two-hour journey to the city. I will return with Anthony and his simple belongings. We look forward to sharing our time and home with him for as long as he would like to stay. I believe he will be like the son we never had, I told his mother I appreciated the fact that she has done the hard work. For us it was as if he had been pre-washed and rinsed and all we have to do is hang him up to dry.
©2008 Charley Hoke