Joe Hudson

Joe Hudson

I was on the front porch when you drove by and I waved, back from an unplanned walk.

Yes, I’d be glad to tell you about it.

Our new home is close to downtown Statesville so recently I walked outside under a beautiful blue sky to fetch the mail and had a zip-a-dee-doo-da moment and whistled a tune and walked right past the mailbox and didn’t stop for several blocks until I reached the corner of Broad and Center.

The city was fresh and green and the streets were blooming. The man in white Bermuda shorts walked with his wife who tossed peanuts to the pigeons then stopped to admire the window display at GG’s.

The city seemed like a snapshot out of paradise.

Everywhere I looked I saw souls who had once been farmers, doctors and tradespeople who were now, in the next life, riding bicycles and going to bakeries and drinking excellent lattes from Sky Mountain Coffee. A young man on a two-wheel push scooter stopped to tell me he reads my stories and I almost asked him if I could take the scooter for a spin.

I’m 66. The last time I rode a push scooter was during the Kennedy administration. But such is the power of spring in Statesville. What in the world was my generation and Iron Butterfly thinking back in the 60s with psychedelic drugs? Just take a deep breath and per Aquarius --- let the sunshine in.

I walked past City Hall where behind it, Tom Dooley awaited trial in an old jail, accused for the murder of Laura Foster and now the place is a local tourist stop. You start out a young love-crazed killer and you end up an historical attraction. Nobody admires a murderer but people enjoy a good story and tragic love and with the right publicity, you get theatrical dramas and songs written about you for over 100 years.

During our move across town my wife and I have gotten to know a young lady, Jessica, who is an educator working at a school in downtown Statesville. She also has a flair for home decorating. Ours. She tells us where to hang pictures and how to place our furniture and where I may sit in my office. She’s just completed her third Master’s degree. Seeing a young woman so smart, talented, and capable, gives me hope and joy for the future.

So does church.

I grew up a country Baptist and married a Louisiana Cajun so I have an appreciation for God’s love and a deep desire for hot spices. When our pastor, Jeff Spry, reminds us that our Lord forgives our sins, I feel hope and joy. Whoosh. I’m lifted up, then I go home and eat shrimp gumbo.

Recently I went back home to Greenville, NC, and walked the fields and woods of our family farm. I saw my old church, Black Jack Free Will Baptist, and I crossed Chicod Creek where I once fished its black waters. I remembered good times and old fishing buddies now long gone, and my eyes began to water.

My ancestor, Red Hudson, walked these same fields and they say he struck out westward with a mule and a wagon load of powder and shot. No one knows what became of Red or what he ate --- he didn’t have a Facebook account.

Red was an adventurer and would have tried the two-wheel scooter. I didn’t. Nor did I ever try drugs, not caring for the madness.

Besides, sunshine and fresh air will give you a healthy buzz, so take a walk. Meanwhile, I’m going back for the mail.

 Readers can write to Joe at Joehud@hotmail.com and Facebook. He is the author of “Big Decisions are Best Made with Hot Dogs."

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