I've got a new home.
Donna and I have found a cottage that's in the heart of Oxford but feels as if it's in some fairy tale forest.
It's a hidden getaway. The hardwoods have spread a multicolor carpet on the roof and lawn and the landscape shrubbery fronting the roadway has gone decades unclipped so it's hard to tell there's a house there at all.
Critters seem to ignore the house's existence.
I found a wooly worm crawling across the living room last night, a vivid red and black that signaled it was best not to touch. I let it crawl into a pan and took it back outside.
We've seen no deer in the yard as yet, but we encountered four of them on a morning walk behind Oxford College. Our grand-dog, Sophie (we're raising her for our daughter), loves the trail, spending long minutes sniffing out its exotic aromas. She investigates, pauses and looks around as if she's watching the deer or chipmunk that left its musk on the leaves scamper away.
Our walks take us through the heart of the Oxford campus, which is seemingly ours at dawn as the students sleep in. The squirrels are out at that hour, taunting Sophie and staying just out of her reach.
There are two festively lighted letters in the upper windows of Seney Hall, "L.O."
I have no idea what they're there for, but they form a special message to me that resonates in these hard economic times.
Just find the humor and laugh out loud.
I know, that's hard to do after life's whacked you hard across the forehead.
I've gotten a lump or two in the past year, too.
But I've got so much to be thankful for:
- 33 years of love and life, three kids and innumerable cats and dogs raised with Donna. I'm so glad she crashed that party in Athens all those years ago.
- Our parents. We've each lost our dads, but our mothers are going strong. Donna's mom takes her one-eyed teacup poodle to nursing homes to cheer up the residents. Mine had a mini-stroke on Monday and was out walking up the block on Saturday. They're pretty incredible, strong women.
- Neighbors and friends, old and new. We've left our home in Augusta after 18 years. Nothing makes you appreciate friends more than the loss of their daily companionship. Thanks for Facebook, e-mail and cell phones and other forms of instant communication, too.
- And a fantastic new community to call home. I love exchanging pleasantries along the square downtown, getting to know the good folks at Kiwanis, and the sheer beauty of the towns and rolling countryside of Newton County.
We've got a long way to go to overcome the financial distress of the Great Recession, but life is special here. We have reasons to celebrate it and like the letters in those windows at Oxford imply, laugh out loud each day.
Tharon Giddens is editor of The Covington News. Reach him at ((678) 750-5011 or at tgiddens@covnews.