I have often wondered if I made a mistake when I left Alaska. Sure, my family had all left and I was there alone, but was that reason enough to leave? Was it reason enough to leave everything I knew and loved; the friends that I had made; the place I called home?
Have you ever questioned yourself years later on a decision like that? I would bet you have.
Facebook has really made me realize how much I miss some of my friends up there - folks like Travis Watson, Raleigh Johnson and Joe Anzalone, to name a few. And I do mean a few.
I used to think I had very few friends when I was in school. While, for the most part, I think that is right, I had more than I realized.
Now, as I get older, I see the value of what I once had. Social media allows me the opportunity to see the photos of my friends and, in a very minor way, stay connected with their lives.
It also shows me how deep the disconnect is between where I am and where they are.
I do wonder if I would still be friends with my high school chums if I still lived there. It seems that their lives and mine have followed too very different paths. But how the hell should I know.
I know that I want to take my kids to Alaska one day. I want them to see North Pole High School, the Santa Claus House, Fred Meyer, and of course the Bentley Mall. Provided of course these things are all still there.
I want to show them where I got my first job - Tack's General Store - and where I used to live - Chena Hot Springs Rd. I want to introduce them to people who knew me when I was an awkward teenager trying desperately to stay sane in this world.
I would wager this trip would have to be more than a few weeks long. Perhaps it will be a sojourning of sorts for me. Maybe it will put to rest all things I have wondered over the last few years.
I would love to see the old gang again. I would love to knock back a drink with them and trade stories of life, love and everything in between.
Until then I guess I will wait. Think of me kindly, my friends. Know that no matter the distance, I will remember you and things we did together.
Travis, I know you are hurting right now, brother. I wish I was there to offer you words of support or a shoulder to cry on. My the pain ease but the memory never fade.