It's been more than four years since I sold my home on Pine Drive in Pine Lake and moved north. I've adjusted more or less to life and people in New Jersey, but I still miss the South and Pine Lake in particular.
I get back to Atlanta at least once a year, but it's a bittersweet trip. I find my old house looking sad with a blue tarp and the lake looking as beautiful as always. My most recent trip was a sad one; the son of my BFF was murdered only a mile or two from Pine Lake shortly after Christmas. I visited old friends, but it was a gloomy trip that reminded me that things aren't so very safe even near the city on the lake.
I still routinely remove spam comments on the Windows and Doors post on this blog. I changed the name to W*nd*ws and D**rs, but unscrupulous people from all around the world leave their links. I follow Tommy Conlon's adventures on Facebook, and I routinely receive e-mails about the city. My Pine Lake Yahoo Group remains active, but it and the other lists have largely been replaced by the Pine Lake FaceBook page--to which I subscribe.
Pine Lake will forever have a special place in my heart, but my marriage is perfect and it's unlikely I will live in the South again.
I recently took a road trip to Nashville and Memphis and New Orleans. Nashville is another of my old home towns, and I enjoyed it immensely even as I visited family and marveled at how much things can change in a few years. Memphis I didn't like so much. New Orleans I have always loved, but we spent days dodging Hurricane Barry and our time there was cut short. Still, I had time to eat beans and rice and jambalaya and blackened redfish and beignets at Cafe du Monde. I hated that we missed Atlanta, but I'm determined to make a visit before the end of the year.
I cook my own grits these days, for there ain't one grit to be seen in northern New Jersey. Not even Cracker Barrel has them! I miss country ham and biscuits and Captain D's and Krispy Kreme and the lunches at Ingles--especially the collard greens. New Jersey has no end of diners and bagel palaces and pizza joints, but is sorely lacking in the food I love. Mostly I miss my Pine Lake friends. I'm always happy to hear news from the city on the lake.