“Fort Payne, Alabama” – Song 3 – Enneagram 6 Songwriter – Analyzing Lyrics – Themes of Belonging and Security

My 3rd song is a clearly a prime example of me, unknowingly at the time, showing my true Enneagram 6 identity: focused on belonging and security.

Released on October 29th, 2019, it had been nearly a decade since one the most monumental events of my life: My wife and I had moved back to my hometown on Fort Payne, Alabama; with our newborn son, without jobs, hoping and praying that our leap of faith and our new life would work out.

It didn’t. We last 9 months before we had to move back to Nashville, in humility.

This song was me accepting, in hindsight, that though I had moved back to my hometown because I saw it as a place of stability and security, it ended up being the opposite for me.

The irony, all these years later, is that my wife and I can easily work for home; wherever “home” happens to be. We could move back to my hometown again now and it would probably be fine.

However, because of living through that in 2010 and 2011, I now feel more stability and security where I live now in Tennessee.

Here are the lyrics:

“I was born and raised in Fort Payne, Alabama – Baptized and saved in Fort Payne, Alabama – I tried to move back years ago but it wasn’t quite the same – Time had moved too fast or slow and I couldn’t keep the pace – I moved out, I moved on, I found a new place to call home – But those Alabama back roads still show me where to go – I married a girl from northern California – Where they make the wine and they grow those big Sequoyahs – We planted our roots in Tennessee and we started a family – If you said this was my fate or fortune I think I would agree – I grew up in the southern Appalachians – Between Desoto Falls and Little River Canyon – If you called me Mother Nature’s son, I’d take it as a compliment – I’d trade a Lexus for an RV, a mansion for a tent – I spent the first 35 years of my life trying to know who I should be – All these puzzles pieces here, it’s more than I need – There’s a difference between who I used to be – Versus who I am now when I’m back in this town – Is this still the same place? Maybe I’m the one who’s changed”

So looking back on this song I wrote nearly 4 years ago, can you see the Enneagram 6? Can you see my longing for security and confirmation of my own existence?

Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

And now you can listen to the song, below, if you wish:

 

The Weekend of My 20th High School Class Reunion: A Pedicure with My Wife, Contrasted by Almost Seriously Getting My Jeep Stuck in a Deep Mud Puddle!

After waiting 5 years since my last high school reunion, when unfortunately my wife couldn’t make it due to being in California at the time, I was so glad that she and I could go out on a date to my 20th high school reunion.

My wife came to my 10th high school reunion back in 2009; we were still technically newlyweds at the time:

And because of that, many of my classmates got to know her pretty well.

For the day of my 20th high school reunion, my sister and her husband volunteered to watch our kids the whole day (and night) so that we could really make the most of it.

So we started the day off right by going down to The Spa in Rainsville; where we both got pedicures.

(Last month while we were on family vacation, my wife took me along for a pedicure and I admit- I didn’t hate it. So I was open to the idea of going back.)

My wife jokes that I have “Berenstain Bear” toenails. She’s pretty much right. I need all the help I can get with it comes to my toes.

But afterwards, to balance things out, we took the Jeep out on the mud trails.

Now that I have been really putting the 4 wheel drive capabilities to the test, I have been heavily considering dropping a few hundred dollars to purchase a winch to put on my bumper; giving me the ability to pull myself out of mud.

Our most recent excursion, this past weekend, got us stuck in a puddle that was higher than the tires. Even with the Jeep already being in 4 wheel drive, I didn’t have enough power to drive myself out.

The Jeep was noticeably tilting to my side. It wasn’t a crazy thought that we might turn over into the deeper-than-I-realized mud water; basically a mini-pond.

Fortunately, my dad was sitting right next to me in the passenger seat, and told me to try putting it in reverse.

At this point, I knew not even to look to my left out the window, knowing that the muddy water had to be pretty close to reaching the glass.

I prayed: “God, please help us get out of here!”

The Lord answered my desperate and humble prayer.

But for the rest of my life, I will always look back at this event as nothing short of miraculous. That story could have very easily ended much differently:

With the Jeep being stuck there, miles from civilization; easily being an all-day event to get pulled out.

Thank God, though- we were delivered from the pit and no permanent damage was done to my Jeep; which is our officially family vehicle that I take the kids to school in every day and the vehicle that we take out of town trips in.

My dad happens to be the real life version of MacGyver. He had to figure out how to reattach the front mud guard under the bumper. It was a complicated task, but he was able to restore it back to normal.

(I still need to clean up the mud that started oozing through the drain holes in the floor of my Jeep, though!)

So when it comes to taking my prized possession in to the unpredictable muddy trails, I’m pretty sure I officially got this out of my system.

I’m a person who truly lives without fear. I don’t get anxious or nervous, and I definitely don’t get scared.

But in that pivotal moment of being helplessly stuck worse than I had ever been before, I was terrified!

I think I am going to retire from driving back on those trails- and just to be safe, I think I will still purchase the winch anyway!

As for the high school reunion, it just couldn’t have gone better! It was so well planned and we had a really good turn out.

I was happy to see how many people remembered my wife. It almost felt like she actually graduated high school with the rest of us; it felt so natural. (She also graduated high school in 1999; just on the other side of the country in Sacramento.)

Catching up with friends who have known me my entire life was such a rewarding experience. It was funny, at one point when we had our class picture taken, we were directed:

“Just stand next to who you normally do in these pictures!”

Sure enough, it was the same guys as it was in high school and our other reunions. We make up the section, “Guys who are the same height as the tall girls, but guys who aren’t necessarily considered short.”

For me, I care so much about my high school class reunions, they are truly a highlight of my life every 5 years. I really love the group of people I was fortunate enough to grow up with in the 1980s and 1990s.

The next morning for lunch, my wife and I were reunited with our kids, who thoroughly enjoyed their slumber party with their cousins the night before.

After a hearty lunch at Fontana’s, we made the 3 hour drive back to Tennessee. Our daughter was asleep by the time we made it to the interstate.

This weekend was just perfect. It will remain one of the best memories of my life.

I was surrounded by people I love and care about and have known a very long time.

That is what makes life good.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read my blog post about my 20th high school reunion this past weekend, here’s your chance again.

Our 20th High School Class Reunion: Fort Payne Wildcats Class of 1999

 

We have arrived.

In an age of reboots, sequels, and of course, reunions, the timing was perfect for the Fort Payne High School Class of 1999 to have our 20th reunion!

Back in May of 1999, during the week of our high school graduation, we had our class picnic in our city park. Most of us were just 18 years old and didn’t really know, and couldn’t know, what we wanted to do with our lives.

We hadn’t yet figured out what we were really good at, or bad at, or how we would even earn a living.

But during the course of two decades, it sort of forced us to figure out who we were going to be. At now that we are all pushing 40, our lives are, for the most part, figured out.

If graduating high school was like putting the car in reverse, backing it out of the garage, putting it into first, and determining which of the endless roads we were supposed to start driving down…

Then making it to our 20th high school reunion is like having the car in cruise control.

Granted, for most of us, the road we took was not a straight and easy one. That road had many surprising turns. Often that road turned us right back around in the same direction we had already come from.

But by now, we are ultimately settled in for the rest of the ride. We’re not trying to figure out who we are anymore.

We know now.

So for this class reunion in particular, it was especially a milestone. For the first time, we were catching up with the grown up doppelganger versions of each other.

I also realized by attending my 20th high school reunion, that I was fortunate to grow up with a particularly special group of people, at a special time, in a special place.

We were born in 1980 and 1981; during the start of our town’s economic boom, as Fort Payne, Alabama became “The Official Sock Capital of the World”; thanks to our town’s massive hosiery production.

Not to mention, the country group Alabama had just become living legends… and they just happen to be from our little town, located in the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains.

It was magical time and place to grow up. We are a close group of people.

Our class reunions are a really big deal to us and I am confident they always will be.

-Nick Shell

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport with Top Off, Doors Off: Family Drive Along Little River Canyon Rim Parkway in Fort Payne, Alabama

For Memorial Day weekend, we started things off right on Saturday morning by refusing to take showers, but instead, throwing on hats and sunglasses and hopping in our Jeep Wrangler.

This made the very first time I took off not only the complete top, but also, the doors too. As you can imagine, it was a great family experience.

It was like going on a roller coaster ride! And yet Little River Canyon Rim Parkway is only 5 miles from my parents’ house, where I grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama.

This 16 mile drive along the canyon and river is a well kept secret, yet the perfect place to take the family in a Jeep Wrangler.

Dear Holly: You Ate Your Cupcake Like a Little Kitten

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend as we visited my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama for their annual Boom Days celebration, we stopped in a cafe called The Spot. Your brother chose ice cream as his treat, but you weren’t interested.

Instead, you grabbed a cupcake with blue frosting on one side and purple on the other.

As we sat down, you carefully unwrapped the plastic, then just became stoic as you discreetly enjoyed the cupcake; like you were getting away with something extra special.

It was like watching a little kitchen eat a cupcake.

You were so committed to finishing every last crumb, that by the end, you put your face down in it as if were you a contestant in a pie-eating contest.

That must have been some cupcake!

Love,

Daddy