Every year I anxiously await the ACD festival in town. I know, most of the locals rue this time of year. Truth, our bustling little burg does grow by an unfortunate number of national and international folks. But, economy IS economy. In the end we are all thankful for that. Yet it is the other reason that I love this time of year. September has long been one of my most favorite months. There have been so many reasons to celebrate this month. School is back in session, fall makes its official appearance, my grandma's birthday, my step-dad's birthday, many of my friends' birthdays, the ACD festival, the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair, and a plethora of other things. Let's face it September rocks. Well, until this year.
This year I have had to face, what is typically the entry to my favorite season, the onset of my favorite month with the cold hard facts - I have had to face it alone. This has been the first year I have not celebrated the festival as I have in years past - with my family. Grandma is gone. This is our first festival without her. Truth, by the time of the parade she was either too "happy" to remember it, knee deep in some conversation with a random passer-by, or fast asleep on mom's couch, but either way her not being here was, well, just not the same. Damn I miss her. Really people - I miss her. God broke the mold when he made her. I can only imagine how fun Heaven is right now with her there.
Then there is the fact that this is the first year I have "celebrated" this holiday weekend without my children, "my" family. The ex-Mr's weekends have changed, so instead of me having them this weekend he did. Well, kind of, he had a previously scheduled engagement last night so they were with me while he did that, but he did pick them back up today. Yeah, we work with each other like that. I hope they see, that in all things, we are working to make them as happy as possible. Divorce is not easy for anyone, but our littles really do mean the world to us. I just don't have my family this weekend, my favorite weekend of the year.
In years past, as well as this year, I have always enjoyed walking the town square admiring all that is in American automotive history, at least as it pertains to our local history. This year was different. I didn't have anyone to go with me. Thankfully my "aunt" Fay volunteered. I really did love that she cared enough to walk up town with me. She's a beautiful woman who has had her own share of hardships and heartaches. We didn't say a lot, but I am blessed by the time she gave me and the companionship she offered. Sadly, by the time we made it to the square most of the well-maintained old cars had already made their journey onto the next event, but we did see the normal ones, the ones I've taken pictures of year over year. We saw some amazing artwork done by local artisans and in a moment of pure selfishness I popped into a vintage shop and picked up the most beautiful strand of pearls. I love my new necklace and MasterCard is going to love my monthly payments. (OOPS)
However, it is the theme of this year's festival that took me as the most striking. This year it was the Year of the Auburn. If any of you enthusiasts, and I doubt many of my readers are, know much about these remarkable cars, then you know the emblem on the Auburn is a lady, a classy lady. I have taken many pictures of her over the years. She stands proud and tall for all to see, not at all boastful of her position in life, but confident in where she stands. I believe you can see her on last year's post, here. In all of history the most remarkable vessels have had a statue, emblem, or something portraying a woman. Women are strong. We can endure a lot of pain, suffering, tears, heartache, hardship, and pretty much anything life can throw at us and we can come out ok. Yes, we bare scars through those circumstances, but we do make it. We have stories, memories, and most assuredly, lessons learned.
And that right there is my celebration this holiday weekend. This one where I spent alone, am still spending alone. The one where my memories were not the ones I thought they would be, but they were the ones I have. I ran more than I ever have at one time with my girl, Autumn, yesterday. I spent time with my Aunt Fay. I spent A LOT of time alone. Far too much, and yet, perhaps, just maybe, if I give it the right kind of credit, the correct amount time. We are rapidly approaching the one year mark and the last of the firsts, but this weekend, the one that has always been my favorite of any all year long, has proven to be the most emotionally wrenching of them all. I have cried more, been through more Kleenex, wrote more, and felt more pain than in all the weekends prior. It is, in some sense, the culmination of a year's experiences.
So, lovelies, the ones still speaking to me, and the ones who have decided not to, know that I am making it. I am struggling and learning. I am heartbroken and learning. I am crying and learning more. I am searching and learning even more still. I am, most of all, discovering who I am when there is no one there. Mostly I want you to know, I am a classy lady and I miss your friendship.