Ivory Digits
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From Away
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From Away

William M. Howard, July 22, 2001; rev. October 8, 2001 & August 4, 2007

I am from away. I did not grow up in Maine.

I lived in a small town of Washington County, Maine for 25 years. And I was still considered "from away".

My parents were brought up in another state. I came from central Massachusetts. My family was from away.

I don't have any relatives here which means I have no built in social circles. No place to pop in on and feel truly comfortable with an impromptu visit. No one to share a leisurely meal. No built in friends.

No built in friends. That's what families are.

I have attempted to build friends. The family social circles are tight here. I just don't seem to fit.

I don't fit culturally. I call supper dinner. Lunch is at noon. I don't refer to the meal of pasta and sauce as a "spaghetti feed". I don't do stuff like folks here. I don't think about things like folks here. I don't talk about life like folks here. I didn’t raise my children like others here.

I are different. I am from away.

My music, my entertainment, my quiet moments, the way I save or spend money.... all different. I try to live honestly and with high integrity. Integrity. There are some social circles here that I don't need to be a part of.

I have always prided myself with doing things differently. I like being creative. I like to think about how things could be and make change happen. This seems to be extraordinarily hard for most people.

Well, I got friends. That is I did acquire friends. They were all from away.

What did I just say? They were all from away. Most of my close acquaintances came from away and have moved away.

My conversations with people here tend to be short and only of pleasantries. (I always feel a little empty after these encounters.)

I do have a close friend. He is from away. We get together often.

Some of the best times are when we share a meal. He'll help with the cooking. Those are good meals. And of course we talk. Our conversations are different than what most guys have.

I don't really get into sports like a lot of other guys. Sports are not the center of his life either. I guess it is because I am not strongly competitive. Neither is he. He doesn't have that male ego thing going. I don't like to argue about every little thing. I will bend like a tree in the wind. But like a tree, my roots are deep and I won't be swayed too far. He is like that too.

He is a good friend. He listens. He doesn't tell me directly what I might be doing wrong but he may tell a story or refer to a book about my situation. It is so comfortable.

Do you find people can be real quick to correct what you say and do, and sometimes, they are not so nice about it. I try real hard to be nice to my kids and give gentle guidance. He has impressed me with the gentle approach. He says they will actually learn more. A whisper is sometimes heard better than a loud word.

I have been getting together with my friend from away more and more lately. My interests are simple these days as I try to keep my life calm and uncomplicated. He helps.

We can get together almost any time and place. Sometimes we go to work together. He rides in the car with me. I do the driving. He doesn't have a license.

He will help me on the job. Although he has no formal training, he seems to know an awful lot. It is great to not be alone when working on problems.

I know I can't go through life alone. There are just times when I need to have someone who I can talk with and who can give me strength and wisdom. I can share my problems with him and he helps. Sometimes he'll say, "Let me take care of that problem for you." And I'll say, "Okay, here it is." He takes it and suddenly I feel peaceful. What a friend. I give him the problem, and it just seems to disappear.

Who is this guy?

His name is Jesus.

He's from away.




Ivory Digits
William M. Howard
10 Fish Ave.
PO Box 316
Jefferson, ME 04348-0316
(207) 214-7912

Copyright 2016 William M. Howard