Sunday, August 14, 2005

By the Summer's end...

What do you do when your old life is broken?
What do you do when you feel lost and alone and everything and everyone who makes you feel safe is far away…
Have a huge yard sale and get rid of all of the crap you think you need, but don’t and pack what you can’t part with into the cheapest u-haul trailer you can get, cash your final pay check and hit the road.
Yep that’s how it started.
Mom and I piled our new life into the back of a u-haul, tossed a change of cloths into the back seat of the Chevy, counted our cash and we were outta there.
Destination: Grandby Missouri.
We drove from early morning till well after dark, day after day, from motel 6 to motel 6.
I remember driving across Montana took forever. No wonder it’s called Big Sky Country. I’d never been east of Idaho before.
We alternated radio stations, one hour country for Mom, one hour rock for me. Now you can buy those rock songs off late night cable in a 2 CD pack produced by Ronco and titled with words like “classic”. Dr. Hook was hot and Mom was going to pull her hair out “if there was one more song about ‘when you’re in love with a beautiful woman’”.
When we were between cities and without radio reception, you could find us on CB channel 17 and hear some serious flirting going on with the passing truckers. Life was an adventure and I don’t think either of us cared much about the next day, until the next day arrived.
My Aunt, at our destinations end, recently referred to me as a city girl, and that was (is) a pretty accurate description. With the exception of one foster home, my playground’s were mostly pavement, my entertainment- cruising the Colby and going to see Rocky Horror Picture Show, the first run, for the 94th time all dressed up. I’d never experienced life in the country.
You don’t get much more country than Grandby Missouri, even when you’re in town.
While we were on the road, I’d seen things I’d never seen before. Some of the most notable were: The inside of the bar where we both got sloppy drunk (remember this was the summer prior to my senior year of high school) and we made the signs attached to the u-haul in the picture with the assistance of most every one in the bar. Mom coached me a little and helped me put on enough makeup that the bartender didn’t give me a second look. We ran across hail stones the size of soft balls that we waited out parked under on overpass on the freeway, then we continued on. And how funny we found it when what I thought was a herd of buffalo off to the side of a highway, turned out to be large bales of hay. She had told me that sometimes you could see buffalo off of the road and I really had wanted to see that.
Even though I didn’t have a driver’s license, we took turns driving, singing off key and working the CB radio.
Freeways turned to highways, turned to country roads. At the end of a long dirt road, was yet another long dirt road and at the end of that was my Aunts farm… we had arrived.
There was no cement, no car horns, no movie theaters, no malls. Corn, there was corn as far as the eye could see. People said things like “Oh it’ll be knee high by the 4th of July”, like I knew what that meant. For the first time since we left “home”, I was getting nervous about how life was now going to unfold.
I had never met my aunt, her husband or kids… I had only recently met my mother and we had just moved to the middle of no where. What on earth do people “out here” do?
Thankfully my “new” cousins had taken me under their wings, I have always thought they felt kind of sorry for me because I had no idea what life was about in this strange place. Thankfully they were willing to show me the ropes.
Over the course of the summer I learned that pigs are the cute pink things I’d seen at the fair, but hogs are huge (and mean). I learned that lightening bugs really do glow after dark and that if you squish them you can make rings for your fingers that glow in the dark as well. I learned that you can hoola-hoop for hours if the cousin competition requires it. I learned what tics were, and that with a bit of hot solder they will explode when the tics are full. I learned that while riding a dirt bike between rows of corn, you can go faster if you use second gear. I learned that crickets can be deafening when there are no other sounds around.
I remember having a minor crush on my cousin Matt for about a minute (it's cool, we were in Missouri!) and thinking that my cousin Cindy knew everything about animals, looking at the sky and predicting the weather and of course, corn.
I remember feeling as close to being a child as I ever had, even though I was in my latter teens. I was beginning to like it where life was slower, where the scenery was beautiful and where I learned a little bit about how to make my own fun rather than waiting to be entertained.
As time went by, I was settling in and feeling at home. I was bonding with new family members, I was beginning to see my future on a corn farm, or thereabouts.
In the short amount of time I’d lived with my Mom, I’d never seen her more happy than when she was in the area of what was her home, the place where her roots were deeply planted.
By late summer, life had taken yet another turn. Soon we were in the car heading back to the west coast, as Mom was willing to give the guy we left behind one more shot.
I don’t remember the trip back as being of particular fun or adventure. I could tell Mom felt like she was leaving home and that it saddened her.
Pulling into Salem, where I reside to this day, was bitter sweet. On the one hand I felt like I was home again, on the other I knew that there was nothing new here to discover.

OK DC… Your turn!

posted by addict @ 12:28 AM |

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