Some of you may have heard me talk about growing up on a Southern farm, and though it was late 60's and the 70's, my upbringing spoke of an earlier time. We didn't have air conditioning, dishwasher, or many luxuries my friends had at their houses, but on the flip side, we barely missed a beat when the power went out. Mom merely moved dinner from the kitchen to the hallway, where we had a wood stove, and neighbors thought we had power because lights shown from our windows. Ah, the many kerosene lanterns we had.
Though a perfectly good tractor waited in the barn, we plowed fields with a mule. I know, right? I didn't get it either.
I remember riding a horse through the snow, ax thrown over my shoulder, to break up the pond ice so animals could drink.
I was twelve. When my kids were twelve I barely let them out of the house without my being there.
We didn't have fashionable clothes and ate at a restaurant maybe once a year, usually a burger place.
Anyway, simpler times, but a very strict household. Therefore, all through my teen-aged years, my major thought was--leaving.
Oh, my God. If I could just get off that farm I'd be happy, or so I thought, being convinced that anywhere else had to be better.
Man, did I have a lot to learn. First off, I missed the twenty some odd barn cats, the dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, etc. Next, growing up on a farm with limited exposure to anything non-farm, meant I wasn't prepared for the real world. Sure, I'd run into bad people, but those I'd learned to handle.
When the movies show the fresh-faced country kid getting off the bus in the big city and getting eaten alive by opportunists, well, I can relate.
Eventually I got my feet under me, though it took a while, stumbled my way through a series of bad choices, and came out the other side. Yes, I left the farm, running from myself, folks set to do me no good, and the past. As the song says, "Wherever you go, there you are."
I began writing as a way to cope with the world around me, met a great group of people, and set my foot on the road to where I am today.
The bottom dropped out of my life and I returned to my home state, needing the support of my family while I licked my wounds and decided what to do next. I'd totally forgotten who I was and where I came from, and when searching for yourself, where better to start than the last place you saw the real you?
I thrived beyond my wildest dreams. Dreams I thought out of reach came to hand, and then I reached farther.
Anyway, the reason for the overshare is this:
I'd sworn off relationships, having decided all I needed were friends, family and myself. It was then that I met someone I never dreamed existed: non-judging, supportive, and not wanting to shove me into a mold I couldn't conform to.
The most ironic part of this whole story is that I moved miles away, and more miles, and still more miles, living a nomadic lifestyle so different from what I knew.
And found myself five miles from where I started, back on a farm, and totally happy.