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Mack Williams: ‘Movin’ right along’

Today’s column’s title is also the name of a song from the “Muppet Movie”(1979), and if you remember that scene of Fozzie Bear and Kermit, and if you remember that scene of Jed Clampett and family crammed into a Great Depression-era car, and if you remember George and Weezie “Movin’ on up,” you must admit we are a mobile species, our far distant ancestors making the “big move” “Out of Africa”(also a movie).

This week’s column began when I was going back out to my car after paying my cable bill (perhaps our far distant ancestors left Africa in search of cable). Several young people in their twenties (although to me, “forties” also makes the grade as “young”) were checking on some items which must have come loose in their Budget rental truck.My daughter Rachel and her boyfriend Richard once moved using a budget rental truck. The large letters “Budget” on the side of those trucks, in addition to being an advertisement for Budget Rental, also says those using them are smart shoppers.

The other day I drove past a “Budget Motel” and thought how appropriate it would be for a Budget rental truck to be parked there, but none were.

The mobility of those recent Budget Rental patrons, as well as another young lady seen one day rolling her luggage down the street, sort of reminded me of a family group on the old Andy Griffith Show which told fortunes, made weather predictions, and sang (quite repetitively): “Through the forest wild and free…” Sight of them also brought to mind the Hungarian Rhapsodies of Franz Liszt.

It might be said that “Through the forest wild and free” could also be applied to our most distant ancestors. That “forest mobility” was long ago applied to world-wide topography.

My first experience with the fact that people are not permanently rooted like trees was when Spence Hatley’s family moved away from the old Concord Road. My second was when the family which replaced the Hatleys in that same house moved away. Just those two moves in an otherwise “static” neighborhood seemed to make that house “waver” with instability.

My own first move was moving from my boyhood home on the Old Concord Road in 1973. I sort of said goodbye to the great old tree in the traffic island (a natural one) in our driveway. That tree was my first outdoors’ sight every morning and my last such sight at night, stars twinkling in the spaces between leaves, both stars and leaves seeming to “twinkle” on a windy night.

I just now thought of Clint Eastwood’s song “I Talk to the Trees” from “Paint Your Wagon”(1969).

I also kind of said goodbye to the ever-erupting quartz rocks in our yard and driveway. It wasn’t hard to go on a rock hunt there. In fact, the way those rocks were forever popping up out of the ground, I kind of got the feeling the rocks were hunting me.

My prior moving from one dorm to another or off-campus at Appalachian didn’t really qualify as “moving,” seeming more like “run-throughs” for the real thing.

That big move, years ago to Yanceyville, made me homesick for Salisbury and Rowan County, leading to my mother (Lorraine Williams) sending me publications about both. One time, she visited the late James S. Brawley and purchased an out-of-print booklet from him about Salisbury-Rowan. Gentleman that he was, Mr. Brawley cautioned her that he was at the tail end of the flu, but only precious local history (always “contagious”) was transmitted on his booklet’s pages.

I still have some physical boxes of things from life’s moves for which I pay storage, but many more “valuables” in “figurative” storage within me, for which no fee is exacted as I carry them along.

“Through the forest wild and free…”

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