You might not guess from a casual conversation with me, but I’m a country girl, through and through. Maybe that’s why most of my vacation picks involve crowded cities, skyscrapers and lots of neon lights- they are nice places to visit when you aren’t surrounded by those sights every day. But it’s always good to come home where you have to drive to the mailbox.
The road I grew up on is the road I live on now, but it’s long since seen paved (sigh). My daughter won’t learn the exquisite art of straddling the ruts on a muddy road in the same way I did when I got my driver’s license. Our beloved mutts are free to roam as long as they don’t go past the electric fence, unlike my childhood pets, one of whom would dig a fresh hole every day in the middle of the road and the stray car that might pass by just had to drive around him. And they did. These days, the thirty mile an hour speed limit leaves me shaking my fist at orange trucks and weekend motorcycle enthusiasts who streak by.
We played outside a lot in those days, rain or shine. When the power went out during storms or hurricanes (which we treat to this day with equal apathy) we’d rustle up some candles and play monopoly. In the summer heat, you had to get up early to get your horse riding in before the humidity hit 100%. We had 4-H projects, fresh watermelon in May and when the orange blossoms bloomed, it was like the fragrance counter at Macys exploded.
Most of my classmates regarded me as a novelty- the one who lived so far out of town. She can’t ride her bike over on Saturday. And although I sometimes resented being different, I live not more than a hundred yards from where I grew up for a reason. I don’t get unexpected visitors. I can have a bonfire in my back yard without reprisal from a homeowner’s association. I see and appreciate a patch of earth that has looked the same for the last hundred years and will look the same one hundred years from now. I know where my water and food comes from. Mercifully, we have a generator (a by-product of being out of power six weeks after Hurricane Charley) and a weak, but consistent, internet connection that keep the world as close as we need it to be.
But I do miss that dirt road and I’m happy that I was raised on it. How about you? Are you proud of where you came from and how it shaped you? I’d love to hear your story.