18 October 2011: People are crowded outside of the courthouse in the breezy, fall air. My mother and I sit quietly in the van as people pass by and never seem to notice us. My mom takes a sip of her coffee from her go-cup and I nervously look at the watch on my left wrist.
“It will be over today son.”
Scoffing under my breath, I nod my head. Words fail to come out of my mouth, and my heart is burdened. “What is going to happen to my children?” Finally, it is time for my appointment. I reach for the door handle, and my mom lays her hand on my arm. “It’s okay son. Things will be fine.” Pushing my unwanted weight to the right, I exit the van and slowly make my way toward the courthouse.
The judge is a young man. He looks like he is barely out of his teens. He enters the room and we both stand; he sits down and clears his voice. “Do both parties agree?” My wife nods her head and replies yes. I agree as well. He looks at both of us and proceeds with the business at hand.
“Mr. Freeman, you will pay 775 dollars child support until your children are 19, your Jeep payment will be your alimony, you will provide insurance for both children and you will pay their college tuition.” I nod.
Welcome to the day when I lost everything.
“I can’t make it. There is no way that I can afford 700 dollars for a one-bedroom apartment. What am I supposed to eat, air?” I reach for my phone and call my parents.
“Mom, I need to move home. They want 700 bucks a month for this run-down crap I am living in.”
I hear hushed conversation in the background, and then my mother comes back on the phone.
“Come home son.”
I arrive in North Mississippi with a heavy heart, and a wounded spirit. I didn’t bring a lot of stuff with me, just a few clothes, my PlayStation 4, and some games. Moving in was easy. As I prowled around, trying to get a feel for my new habitat, I felt resentment well up in my heart. “If people weren’t so greedy, I could have stayed in Colorado!” However, as time passed by, I grew accustomed to my new stomping grounds. “It’s not bad here, just different.”
“Son, sit down and talk to your dad. He has something he wants to offer you.”
Pouring a cup of coffee, I walk to the couch and sit down. My dad is watching the western channel, and I watch a bit of it with him. Finally, my dad looks at me.
“Would you like to buy this house and the land that goes with it?”
I look at my father incredulously. Taking my hand, I wipe my mouth and glance around the room.
“Dad, I don’t think I can afford it. How much do you want for it?”
“I didn’t ask you that! I asked if you wanted to buy it.”
“Yes dad, I want to buy it.”
We agree on a price (his price) and suddenly I am a homeowner again. The pain of loss all those years ago is forgotten in the ensuing excitement that I felt inside. Once again, I have my own Ponderosa. My own personal slice of heaven. It is amazing how quickly things can change in your life. The cabin that I purchased is small, but it is big enough for me. The acreage that came with the house is alongside and to the front of my home is teeming with wildlife. Every morning I walk to the end of my porch and watch the sun come out of hiding. In a word, life here is perfect. The sound of the occasional car is the only sign that life exists outside of my Fortress of Solitude. Robins and sparrows sing, the piercing gaze of red tail hawks stalk rats in my pasture, and the deer will often stop by to visit. Life is good.