I would like to talk to someone. Anyone really. No—not anyone really. I would like to talk to Alex. How long does a mother have to wait before she can call her son at college? Are there rules about that? Like at camp? The camp people say it is for the camper’s own good, that the sound of a parent’s voice will thrust a kid so deep into the abyss of homesickness that he may never recover. Well I am not so sure (I have had my doubts about that camp stuff before), but my guess is that Day 1 is a little too soon to call unless I can come up with a good reason, then it is ok. Like yesterday—Analise and I got to the airport and I remembered something that I had forgotten to tell him. So I called and he answered, “Yes?” which seemed odd, but maybe that’s how they answer the phone in college. Anyway I said, “Sorry for calling, but this is important. Everyday you should sort the quarters from the rest of the change in your pocket and put them in the blue plastic piggy bank the Alumni Association gave you for being a legacy; that way you will always have enough to do your laundry.” Alex thanked me heartily for that sage advice and hung up.

Of course I have other options besides calling. I could text him, but I would have trouble dodging the texts shooting back and forth like souped up molecules between Alex and his girlfriend. (I am pretty sure “unlimited texting” didn’t envision infinity.) Or I could send an email and sit here tapping my foot until he maybe writes back. No. I really think I have to call. There has to be something I need to tell him or maybe there is something I forgot to ask him, something that only he knows like the combination to his bicycle lock (I feel like a ride) or if he has any overdue library books or videos. Surely, there is some reason out there. I just need to think more creatively.

Meanwhile, back to our week…

Alex Goes to College

Part 1 Texas in the Rearview Mirror

We had a plan. Alex, Analise, and I would get up early and drive the eleven or so hours to my parent’s house in South Georgia. My husband would meet us later in the week in Atlanta. The driving would be easy; it was the “get up early” part that had me worried—about Alex, that is. So at 6:00 am last Sunday I was twiddling my thumbs and Analise was watching “Saved by the Bell” while Alex took his sweet time waking up, getting dressed, and saying goodbye to his legos one at a time. Finally, he came downstairs with two bags and four guitars—well not actually four guitars, three guitars plus a mandolin—and, with help from Mary Poppins, fit them all in the back of the car.

By mid-morning we crossed the Sabine and left Texas begging for more. It was an uneventful trip—I drove, they slept—except that we crossed the Florida Panhandle about the same time as Tropical Storm Claudette, who did her darnedest to blow us off the road.

In spite of the Panhandle wind battle, we arrived at our usual time—just before supper. I spent the next day moving from one prone position to another—bed, sofa, recliner. Analise, on the other hand, had a mission to accomplish. Her brother had never seen Gone with the Wind. To live in Atlanta and not know one thing about Rhett, Scarlet, Ashley, Melanie, or Mammy has to be some major sort of Southern sin. The other favorite sins—lunacy, idiocy, and drunkenness—all pale in comparison. Analise’s bossy, stubborn nature overwhelmed Alex’s narcoleptic objections and they spent four hours watching Scarlet scare the dogmess out of every man south of Charleston.

The next day, a little after lunch, we were on the road again. This time with Alex behind the wheel driving to his future…

Up next—Part 2 Living and Buying in Buckhead