It’s not easy saying good-bye to a long-time travel companion. Especially one that has logged as many miles with me as this one has. From confederate cemeteries to Appalachian overlooks to Indian mounds in the bayou, one stalwart companion has consistently had my back. One compadre that without complaint has suffered through rainstorms, tangled brush, and snow at elevation to assist with my need to get to there from here.
Our journeys together began in 2007 as we visited the town where I spent most of my youth, Griffin, Georgia. Just a simple driving and walking tour of some of the sights in my old hometown. From there we branched out to hiking the Great Smoky Mountains, catching throws at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and visiting national monuments and museums in our nation’s capital city.
Collectively we have dined on Diva Dawgs, pounds of steaming crawfish, tasted wine, moonshine, café au lait and beignets.
Together we saw off my oldest son when he left for basic training, cheered for my daughter riding in her first Christmas parade, and spent more than a few hours at soccer matches and rowing regattas for the other boys.
Pairing up we have spent Christmas in Plaquemines Parish, Thanksgiving in McDonough, Fourth of July in Great Lakes, and Mother’s Day in Washington D.C.
As a duo we have chased Lafitte, stalked owls at midnight in the Cumberland Gap, hunted for Sasquatch, and spent the night on a paddle wheeler.
There are things in life you just grow accustomed to and even when they reach the end of their useful life, and then some, it’s still hard to let them go. From the day I first picked it up off the discount rack at a local outdoors shop, I knew it would be a long and rewarding relationship. The pockets were deep enough to hold the various paraphernalia I inevitably collect, and the whole shell folded up into a tight bundle that fit just fine in my hydro pack. It has a couple of tears and rips, battle scars from some of the environments through which we traipsed. The now zero percent water resistance soaks me in even the slightest misting of rain. Still I will miss that old jacket. Especially this weekend as I break in my new travel companion. But as in life, we must move on. So with heavy heart but a noggin full of fond memories, I send my faithful sidekick to the great closet rack in the sky. Like a first love, it will be missed but never forgotten.
© 2013 G. Scott Brinkley. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.