I went home this weekend. Driving past the county line, I surprisingly found myself slowly loosening my grip on the steering wheel, with my breath coming just a bit easier. The mountain tops, gentle and sloping as they are, felt like long lost friends. Bowser, in the passenger seat, woke up from his nap and paid attention as the greenery sped toward us, a welcome sight after the skyscrapers of Atlanta.
Mom's home cooking. The cat curled up on the top front porch step. A summer breeze, just enough to make the high-80 degree weather bearable. Eavesdropping on the gossip between the two old men who sit in front of the pool room. A greasy burger and order of fries from Mr. P's (new and improved with a drive-thru!). Borrowing the truck and flying down the one-lane gravel roads. The farmers setting up at the Saturday morning market, with squash the size of your head and cabbage the size of two or even three of your heads. An early morning walk by the river.
I truly didn't appreciate this place while I was growing up, but now that I'm an adult, I feel as though I can really accept my childhood for what it was - a childhood. With a tomato and pepper patch in the backyard, with a honest-to-god scarecrow and everything. I guess every place to live has its own merits ... but I can't help but look at some of my "friends" (one of which admitted that she thought water just came magically from the water tower) and think how small their worlds really are, even though they look through their noses at me from time to time.
It's a slippery slope. Square footage wise, I guess I'm not good enough for some people.
But I know what it is to plant a seed, watch it grow, and reap the rewards with a delicious entirely homemade tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad. I know that the smell of chicken shit in the air is the smell of money. I know fresh water springs bubbling from the ground are better than any fancy bottle of water from France.
And I've finally realized that if people have a problem with that, and the place that I grew up, then those are their issues ... not mine.