Tag Archives: Family

These are my people

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Most of the times I come home, I drive my car past my grandmother’s old house and her farm and think nothing of it. It’s just part of the scenery I have driven by my entire life. Today, though, I decided to drive my car on the old dusty path past the red barns and the silo and made a right. My mom told me yesterday that my cow had a new baby calf, and I wanted to see it.

I took my sandals off and walked barefoot through the pasture. The grass was still wet from last night’s rain, and I walked slowly to the fence row to see Survivor. Survivor is my red cow that my dad saved when I was about eight years old. He found her stuck in the swamp on the back of our farm. She was malnourished and close to death.

After he rescued her, Survivor became my pet. I bottle fed her back to health and watched her grow. I gave her shots, and I wanted so badly for her to play with me. I soon realized that cows don’t make the best of pets and that included baby ones, too. I remember I used to hop in her pen with her after I fed her in attempts to pet her. Looking back on that ten years later, I realize how stupid that was. Survivor could have trampled me. Thank goodness she was not too rambunctious for that.

I made it to the fence row today, and Survivor was way far down into the pasture lazily laying under a tree. I couldn’t see her cow from where I was standing, so I guess I will try the next time I am home. Defeated I walked back to my car, and I started to wonder about my grandparents. They farmed the grass and land beneath my feet for more than 50 years. I wonder what they would think of it now. More importantly, I wonder what they would think of me now.

Only my mom’s mom watched me grow up. My dad’s mom was already passed by the time I entered the world, and his dad died when I was seven. I barely remember him. My mom’s dad is only faint memory of Carmelo bars, tan skin and overalls. He died when I was four, so I never got to know the man I watched drive the tractor away to tend the land.

I am so different from all of my grandparents. No one in the family was a writer. I don’t think they cared about commas and grammar and breaking a top news story. I know my mom’s grandparents knew the South. My grandparents herded cows and grew crops. They raised tobacco, too. I remember being younger and wearing my overalls and claiming to be a farming kind of girl. I loved cows, and I always wanted to hop on the tractor with my dad. Occasionally, I got to help build a fence in the scorching June heat, and I remember getting to drive my dad’s old red Toyota pickup through the pasture at dusk to just check on things.

Now, I wear dresses and tights, and my fingers are glued to electronics half the time. My nose is usually in a book studying away, and the only barn I see is the one lone barn on campus for the ag kids.  I claim I am simply Southern. I don’t think I deserve the title of farm girl anymore.

Had my grandparents stayed alive longer than they did, I wonder if I would be any different. I wonder if I would want to live on a farm the rest of my life, or if I would still have the same desires I do now, which consists of writing other people’s stories every chance I get.

I love small town life. I love the fact that I grew up on a farm, and that I still have a cow. At almost 19, however, I am the point where I want to explore the world a little. I want to see and do things my grandparents didn’t have the opportunity to do. I am not sure what they would think of me as I am living on my own in what they would consider a big city. Who knows, they might think I am heathen.

I hope they wouldn’t though. I hope they would see themselves in me what ever little part they contributed. Despite that they are long gone, I know that I got all the traits I have from those before me. My sense of adventure had to come from somewhere. I am going to guess it is from dad’s dad. He was a skydiving, motorcyclist riding kinda guy.

My love for the acoustic guitar probably came from my mom’s dad. Mom told me he used to have one and pluck a string or two every now and then. What I would give to have played a song with him, or even just pick a few chords.

As for all my other traits, I am not sure. I know there is a piece of them within me, and perhaps the more I grow the more I will know what comes from who. Regardless of where I live someday whether it is where I grew up or somewhere else, I am proud of where I came from, and more importantly, I am proud of who I am came from.

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All I want for Christmas is stitches

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All ornaments made by yours truly

In plugging in our small Christmas tree today, I looked at all the decorations I made throughout my elementary school days. One in particular caught my eye as the afternoon sun made the ornament shimmer. I made this particular ornament in the third grade the morning after my father dropped me on head.

It was normal for a morning in the third grade for my dad to carry me from my pink warm covers to lay on the couch with my Mickey Mouse blanket while he fixed me breakfast.  Still in my sleep coma, my dad always picked up me to deliver me to my seat at the breakfast table. After scarfing down my strawberry Pop-Tart, I lifted my arms up for dad to carry me back to the living room, so I could resume my watching of cartoons.

My dad had a stumble in our thirty feet journey from the kitchen to the living room. The accidentally left open bread drawer at the kitchen counter intersected with our path to the couch. He never noticed it was still open from getting bread for his toast, and off we went. Dad tripped and my head hit the adjoining counter.

I started screaming, but it was not because I was in pain. I was more concerned with my dad who was still trying to scrape himself off the lament kitchen floor. My mom came tearing out the bathroom in her blue bathrobe wondering what the loud thud and shrills were about. She thought my dad had a heart attack until she looked at me.

Blood was pulsing out of my eye brow, and she grabbed my arm and sat me down. Once she cleaned up my face, she kept applying pressure to my face. It didn’t really hurt, but the one thing I noticed was the time ticking on the clock. It was drawing time for mom to take me to school.

“When are we leaving for school?” I asked.

My mom looked at me like I was crazy. Perhaps, she wondered if the fall caused me to think such a crazy thought. I am not sure. She told me I wasn’t going to school.

That’s when I started crying. I think I was even close to sobbing. Not going to school? Didn’t she know what today was? We were supposed to make ornaments and finish our Christmas projects. I couldn’t miss a day like that. Plus, I was supposed to wear my new white Christmas sweater that day. She couldn’t keep me from school.

After much crying, begging, and sobbing, my mother stuck a butterfly band-aid across my eye brow. She tried to convince me that I needed to get stitches. I just kept shaking my head no. I wanted to go to school, and no one was going to stop me. Well of course my mom would have, but she apparently let me go.

So, off in my new white Christmas sweater I went. I managed not to get any blood on my sweater while I put it on. I got to finish my Christmas poster we were making, and I got to finish up all my ornaments to bring them home.

I still have  a scar in my eye brow as a result of the fall. However, that Christmas I remember I got some of the best presents ever from Santa and my presents. Maybe Santa felt a little guilty that my parents dropped me on head.

Padre’s day

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For my daddy

In light of the fact that tomorrow is Father’s Day or Padre’s Day in my case, I figured I should probably write something for my good ole dad. I doubt he will read it since he is not much into the Internet, and I don’t think he even knows I have a blog. But I want to write one for him anyways.

My dad is one of the most important people in my life. Perhaps, you think I am being cliche in saying that. However, not everyone is close to his or her dad and has a good relationship with him. God blessed me with the dad I have, and I am glad I’m his daughter.

In my eyes, my dad is a very unique individual. And after being with him my entire life, he inadvertently passed down some of his quirks.

Top 5 things my dad gave me

1)  Since my dad subs at my high school, some of my friends and other students have gotten to know him. One of the first things they identify him with is his laugh. My dad laughs like no other. There is no one else in my life that I know laughs louder than him, and it can project across an entire room. I am told I laugh exactly like him. Well, maybe not all the time. However if I think something is really funny, I am told I sound exactly like him.

2) My dad should have been a history teacher. Sometimes, I think he missed out when he chose not be, but nonetheless, he is a history maniac. The History Channel and the Military Channel our a must watch at our house.  He knows so much, and I am not sure how he remembers it all. I guess so he is so into history that he even named one of our old cats Hitlerette. I am not sure if passions for certain things can really be passed down. I doubt its genetic. However, I am a history freak, too. I think it’s neat, and it has always been my best subject in school.

3) For my entire life, people have always told me that I act like my momma and look like my dad. I am not sure that is always the case, but I truly do resemble my dad in more ways than one. While my mom is very tall, my dad is quite short.  Guess what I am? Short. My dad also has a little round face that makes him look years younger than he really is. I got that gene, too, as I have my own little round face that makes me look younger than I am. And before my dad’s hair changed colors, his hair was extremely dark almost to the color of black as is mine.

4) I remember when I was little that my dad used to pop a in a record into the record player and listen to music a lot of nights before he would go to bed. I would sit on the couch while he sat and his chair and just listened. Since they were records, all his music was of course what is considered now classic rock. He always listened to The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, etc. He and my mom both influenced my music taste, and now even I love these bands too. I credit him partially for giving me my love for classic rock.

5) Reading is something I’ve watched my dad do my entire life. He always had a book in hand. I am not talking the wimpy 150 page books either. I am talking 400-1,000 page books. He’s always loved to read. There are books everywhere in my house. My living room, my parents room, the office, my room, the kitchen, etc. Reading is a past time in my household. I am not sure which one of my parents encouraged me to read most when I was younger. However, I am sure my dad definitely influenced my love for reading and for words.

Don’t forget the deviled eggs

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A week ago today I kissed my grandmother on the forehead and told her I would see her later. I was going on a spring break trip with my best friend to the beach.  However, I thought later meant the Friday I returned.  Not eternity.

My grandmother passed away the Tuesday I was gone, and we buried her on Friday. Throughout the week though, I have evaluated so much with the main element running through my mind being my grandmother.  I have tried to keep my thoughts as positive as the situation would allow.

The number one thing I thought about was grandmother, of course. My grandmother exemplified everything that a southern woman should be. To most people that doesn’t mean anything, but I like the fact I am from the south and all of the colloquialisms that go with the territory.  

My grandmother was very southern. I am not talkin’ redneck either because that is a different category in itself. I am talkin’ genuine southern here. She used words like “dirckley” and made cornbread that would make you have second thoughts about your own grandmother’s cookin’. It was that good.

She had her own secret sauce for barbecued chicken, and I have been eating her pinto beans ever since I could say the word “beans”. In fact, I used to beat on her fridge yelling “Beans Nanny! Beans!” It’s safe to say she raised me right when it came to the food pyramid.

She could bake anything too. Her fried pies were my favorite. She always made them for me which made me feel extra special, and she would give me a container to hide under my bed full of this delicate pastry that way my father wouldn’t eat them all.

But of all the southern elements I either watched her perform or observed, I learned that hard work was what made my grandmother the woman she was. I am not trying to sound cliché here either. Her life wasn’t easy.  She was born in the Great Depression and dropped out of high school her junior year to support her family.

 I know in her prime she farmed with my grandfather. She made three meals a day, did all the washin’, the cleanin’, the sewin’, and tended the farm.  I know she stripped tobacco and milked cows too. And in her spare time, she raised my mom. (Okay, she actually did take the appropriate amount of time to raise my mom, but she did all of her normal chores with a kid, too.)

Since I have been in kindergarten, my grandmother has lived with me. My family dynamic isn’t normal. Most kids have their grandmother living across town or in a different state. Mine lived straight down the hallway and sat beside me at dinner every night. I have had the opportunity to watch be the Christian, southern woman she was.

I guess you can call her funeral southern too. The sweet melodies of “How Great Thou Are” and “Just As I Am” played at her funeral, and on our way to the cemetery, cars pulled over on the side of the road out of respect. I have known to always do that. In fact, she is the one who told me that when I was younger. I know it’s custom here in the south, but it awed me the short three miles we rode to the cemetery.

The most important element of a southern funeral I would say was the food. My grandmother always made food of some sort for a family whose loved one passed away. A few months ago my mom and I were in Barnes and Noble looking at a book that was the guide to a southern funeral. One of the top items was deviled eggs.

My grandmother never did that for anyone, but when I walked into the funeral home lounge to find a snack, I found what every southern funeral needs: deviled eggs.

For those of you who personally know me or my family, I am not trying to be callous by writing about this so soon so please do not think I am making light of it. Writing just helps, and I am just trying to find the most positive and sweet way to write about a woman who blessed my life in too many ways to count.