What’s Next

Over the past few months — even before the pandemic stay at home orders — the most asked question I have been asked is “what’ next?” It is equally asked about my wanderlust and my professional endeavors.

Invariably I  answer, with either an actual or virtual shrug of my shoulders, “I really don’t know.”

That exasperates my family. They know that is perhaps the most truthful statement I ever make. Of course they try to reason with me. You have to know. You have to have some plans. Then they stop in their tracks because they know I am a “what’s next [in the closet]” type of guy and they have seen years and years of short sleeves in the  middle of winter, long sleeves in 90 degree weather, and in the older days of checked shorts or slacks, a striped shirt. They know one of my favorite words is “serendipity”, accepting whatever the moment brings. They recognize I could be any where at any time — a quick unplanned trip down the shore for a sausage and pepper sandwich, a middle of the night trek to the easternmost point in the U.S. for a sunrise, traveling through Canada en route to or from New York and Maine. That’s why they put a tracker on my phone.

Even as my career unfolded, it migrated from New Jersey to Illinois to Ohio to Washington (DC) and New York, not because I was disillusioned with my place of employment but because another opportunity opened up. I never believed in burning bridges — just crossing them and enjoying each moment. Sure, there were some curses along the way, but in 20-20 hindsight, there wee far more blessings and happy memories.

Now, if you remember, when I decided not to renew my lease in Maine, I embarked on a last quarter 2019 journey to visit my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Mission accomplished. My 2020 plans including a coastal/Route 1 adventure from Key West, FL, to Fort Kent, ME. When I actually jotted down a budget, it became fiscally unattainable. In hindsight, that was a serendipitous mission fail. By my calculations, I would have been grounded somewhere around Folkston, GA — and might still be there! Plan B-2020 was to reverse direction from South Carolina to Kentucky to Ohio to New York to Massachusetts, with a couple of trips to Maine for appointments. That plan was accomplished, but still begs a Plan C-2020.

Plans and I don’t play well in the sandbox. I was — and am — drawn back to Maine. However, without any real viable housing in sight, the next thought was to permanently relocate to Kentucky and bunk in with my single son. Corona chose the latter. I escaped Ohio just before the state locked down and reached Kentucky just as the governor placed travel restrictions that remain in place.

It’s been a good 55 days, I think. Joe and I have pretty much the same one day at a time attitude. We don’t require a lot of attention. We keep each other company. He stays busy during the day with word at home while I’ve been able to settle into a more regular routine, including time for writing. We’re making it work {it would have worked had I hunkered down at any of my children’s home}.

I am comfortable here. Of course, I haven’t strayed too far from the front door except for an occasional day trip for an outside walk. And I was stunned the other day when I went to the pharmacy. The clerk was just finishing stocking a shelf when he spotted me and said he would meet me at the counter. I got to the counter and he already had my prescription in hand. “I just need to you to verify your date of birth Mr. Siccardi.” I’ve seen this clerk maybe twice before, yet he knew me … in “tiny” Bowling Green, KY. When I went to Kroeger’s last week, the woman the checkout — the same one who checked me out the first time I shopped there — asked me if I had any coupons. She remembered I had forgotten to present them up front the last time … again in “tiny” Bowling Green.

So, yes, I am  comfortable here. But will it be permanent?

I don’t know. Before leaving Maine, in fact before I decided not to renew my lease, I applied for an apartment in nearby Dexter, one geared to seniors. Out of the blue, I received a call about a possible vacancy at the complex. I was No. 2 on the list and the woman in front of me was already locked into a lease at a different complex, so they weren’t sure she could break the one for the other. I looked at the apartment in late February. The woman got the apartment. However, another one was scheduled to open up in April and I was  next in line — except she couldn’t move because the apartment wasn’t vacant because of the pandemic, barred because the apartment she was going to wasn’t vacant because of the pandemic. Maine is locked down. And so I wait. And so I don’t know.

At the outset of my travels, I turned it over to the Lord. Thus far, He hasn’t definitively answered, although I do know He has a plan. He always has a plan. I just hope He hasn’t been pointing me to Nineveh. I would hate to be the cause of this latest storm.

So we’ll see where the Spirit leads me. Who knows? Maybe He wants me to stay in Kentucky. Maybe He’s pointing to Maine. Maybe the Lord just wants me to do a little more traveling and visiting and observing His presence in everyday life. And I’m good with that.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Love is not defined by who you love, but how you love! — Tylenol commercial


About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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