As we crossed over the eastern seaboard of the United States, I couldn’t help thinking about all those places, all those moves, all the excitement, and all the loneliness that finally brought me to this point. Looking at America below the horizon, I could almost hear her say, “Welcome home; we’ve been waiting for you for a long time.” And finally, for the first time in my adult life, I’d cease living like a rolling stone.
The track was long and exhausting, and took its toll on myself and my small family. Simply put—this diplomat was tired of the race.
My life—my race—had barreled through the following laps:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (North Side and Avalon)
Clarion, Pennsylvania (college)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Belleview after college graduation)
San Antonio, Texas (Basic Training and Tech School)
Zweibrucken, Germany (air force—enlisted)
Limestone, Maine (air force—enlisted)
San Antonio, Texas (Officer’s Training School and Tech School)
Honolulu, Hawaii (air force—HRM)
Rolla, Missouri (ROTC instructor)
San Antonio, Texas (Military Personnel Center—Air Staff assignment)
Comiso, Sicily, southern Italy (CBPO chief)
Colorado Springs, Colorado (Air Force Academy instructor and commander)
Honolulu, Hawaii (Inspector General staff)
Izmir, Turkey (commander)
Norfolk, Virginia (Joint Task Force)
Fremantle, Australia (sabbatical for PhD)
Indialantic, Florida (retirement, sans PhD)
Washington, District of Colombia (State Department orientation and Foreign Service Institute)
San Salvador, El Salvador (regional HRM officer)
Manama, Bahrain (regional HRM officer)
Washington, District of Colombia (career counseling and assignment officer)
Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (management officer)
Athens, Greece (HRM officer)Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (restartment begins)
So, my friends, the story of the nomadic Feeneys has ended. I am deeply touched by your willingness to stay with me through this outrageous project. I simply could not have toiled this hard if I didn’t believe I had something to say. I hope I guessed right.
I’ve written things in this book I’ve never said out loud. The changes along the way have been difficult to write down on paper. At times, I had to trick myself into thinking I was writing about someone else. But in the end, I tried to honestly tell my story, warts and all, because to do otherwise would be unthinkable. The very thing that made this book so hard to write is the reason I wrote it to begin with—the search for meaning, clarity, spirituality, and closure. And just as importantly, to expose this search to you, the coveted reader, for judgment. I hope you sensed this as well.
Finally, the power of thoughtful people like you—eager to learn and digest differences among us all—motivates me greatly. Although humans share many similarities, it has always been my belief that each of us is different. The vastness of the brain can lead me to no other conclusion. It’s time to listen to mine. And it is telling me the following:
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
You’ve played, and loved, and ate, and drunk your fill:
Walk sober off; before the sprightlier age
Comes tittering on, and shoves you from the stage.