Just Steer Me Home: A letter on the closing of Cottage Living

A note from a friend of mine on the closing of Cottage Living.

Dear Little Sweet Pea:

I heard the bad news early on: The Old Girl fell over and died. Let me say that I was sorry to hear it…You were there from the start…so I can only guess that it is a watershed moment for you…I never saw anything spark so brightly.

Can I tell you something? If you feel that something was lost – something inexplicable, some time wasted – you can talk to me. Here’s the secret. I never won anything: never came in first place, never landed on my feet or made the right move at the right time. I never got the girl. I never learned my lesson. Once, years ago, doubled up behind a wall in Cambodia, I thought, ‘I’ve known Happiness. But I count Disappointment among my friends.’ And yet, there is something grand in losing, especially when you really believed in it. I love the race from there to here, all the cursing and tears. I never learned anything if I didn’t learn it twice, once on the losing end.

When I was a little boy, my daddy used to play a game with me and my siblings, called ‘Left, Right, or Straight Ahead.’ We would all climb into his car at night in our pajamas and drive around Pine Bluff. At each intersection, one of us would get to pick in which direction he drove after he asked, ‘Left, Right, or Straight Ahead?’ During the game, we would travel all around that little town, passing the greatest places on earth, ‘the pancake house’ (a little diner where we ate pancakes on Sunday), the library, and the Pine Bluff Commercial, the newspaper, where my daddy was the city editor. The game was won by whoever directed us passed our own house. I can remember idling in front of our house, slowing down as we passed, and seeing my momma, pretty and breathless, in the lighted window. This was long ago, and I never can find myself in any trouble that I don’t think about that game.

I mean, isn’t it that easy? Just steer me home. Tell me where to go, left, right or straight ahead…

What about you? Which way are you going?

Matthew

3 comments... read them below or add one

Comments

  1. November 21, 2008 5:22 pm by M.T. Reply

    Although I know nothing about your magazine, this post brought tears to my eyes. I wish you all the best as you close one chapter, and open yourself up to another. Change is never easy, as you well know. And yet it is what keeps us truly alive. All the best to you, and keep writing.

  2. November 26, 2008 1:50 am by Charles E. Walton, Iv Reply

    Well, that’s about as good as it gets. I have nothing after that.
    Your blog looks great and it seems as though you are visiting the usual haunts. Of course the camera did finally arrive to late and in Bessemer, I sent it back to Atlanta….you are doing just fine with that one. XXXXOOOOO Sanglier

  3. December 5, 2008 5:50 am by Lee Moates Reply

    Oh my, I am in tears! So beautifully, beautifully written. I was so saddened by the closing of Cottage also because one of my dearest friends’ daughter worked as a Stylist there and she was so devastated by it. I was so hurt for her. So glad I found your blog and I am definately getting your book today, Kim.
    Wishing you ALL the BEST!!

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