I grew up on a dirt road in the middle of Texas. I used to have a distaste for the dirt road because it was miles from town and because it caused flat tires with its jagged rocks (every time the road was grated). The dirt road causes you to slow down,..... such a bother. I see that road differently now. The dusty road leading to the house where I grew up still makes me sneeze something awful, but I've learned that the brown cloud of dust that envelopes the car as we drive down FM 1232 is rather enchanted. It transports me to a place where the clock works differently and where things other than my schedule matter.
Things I can count on when I go back home
- Sunday dinner; ham with a healthy side-dish of arguing. Every once in a while we'll have roast, but we usually have ham and we ALWAYS have arguing. Home is where I learned that people who love each other don't always agree. Disagreeing with people lovingly takes practice. There's been plenty of that practice in the house I grew up in.
Hands rustling in the M&M jar – My mom has a huge glass container of M&Ms. Always. She even has micro candy bowls. When I say micro I mean small, but the bowls most always go into microwave too. We melt our M&Ms. I've written about this before. The way the whole "M&M melting thing" got started is a pretty special story. You should read about it here http://godsgirlies.com/?p=1458. I've thought before that it's quite miraculous, the feeding at my parent's house. There are always twenty plus people there. And we can eat a lot of M&Ms. We eat everything else in the house too. This leads to the next thing I can always count on back home.
- A trip to Wal Mart. I never go back home without making a trip to Wal Mart to "get a few things". M&Ms and several gallons of milk are always on the list. This doesn't sound like a big deal, except for the fact that the nearest Wal Mart is thirty-five miles away.
- Eating at Jake and Dorothy's - in Stephenville, TX-Home of the legit Fried Chicken Dinner with Waffle Fries- This is one of my favorite places to eat in the entire world. Eating there on a trip back home is a given. A whole wad of us meet up. Their waffle fries are indescribable. They're cut thin and fried crispy. Putting catsup on them would be an insult. The chicken is fried just right. That's all I can say.
- We go to the creek -with its mostly dry bed and small swim hole. The Duffau is a playground for all ages. This is a popular spot for the man card ceremony. Let me explain.
- An informal man card 'earning' ceremony typically takes place. These kinds of ceremonies are presently pretty frequent at family gatherings because there are six boys who are either teenagers or close to being teenagers, and one younger one watching. In the country, you don't just get your man card (with fear of it getting taken away). You have to earn it. Over and over. Earning a man card usually involves doing something stupid and somewhat painful like jumping in near freezing water just because. (just because you want your man card) Occasionally one of the girls will try to earn a man card too which I find odd, but I was one of those girls on a few occasions (like the time I volunteered to be the first one to have my foot shocked with a Snake Doctor stun gun.) I'm still trying to figure out how to redeem those man card points.
- I can count on a downtown that feels unphased by time. There's one blinking light in Iredell and I'm almost sure it blinks slower than other blinking lights I've ever encountered. People still stop on the road to talk to other people. If the weather's nice at all, they drive around with their windows down. You can count on getting waved at by everybody you pass; even if they don't know who you are.
- The hum of a mixer in the kitchen -You can bet there will be brownies or cookies; the homemade kind. We like to eat them piping hot. Not just because that's the way they taste better. If you don't get a hot cookie or brownie, you don't get one at all. They disappear before they cool off.
- I'll always hear the creaking of a screen door -I noticed my parents got a new screen door that leads into the backyard. I wonder how long it's been there without my noticing. And I wonder if the new one actually creaks. Even if it doesn't, I can still hear it along with kids running in and out. It's one of my favorite "home" sounds. It indicates that the real kind of playing is going on. I imagine I'll always hear it
- Going back home is always a reminder for this "just starting to gray" girl-
Change your opinions, keep to your principles;