Friday, May 28, 2010

... a little romance ...

We're celebrating our anniversary tonight -- 20 maddeningly lovely years.  It's not that I picked George out of a crowd, God led me to him.  I was supposed to do my VS assignment in Phoenix, AZ that winter of 1988.  At the last minute, they changed it to San Antonio, TX.  Where George lived.  God just knows.

"By in love she meant the acuteness of the heart at the sudden sight of a particular person or the way over a couple of years of interested friendship one is suddenly stunned by the lungs' longing for more and more breath in the presence of that friend."  ~Grace Paley

The wine is chilling, steaks and shrimp are marinating, and a variety of veggies to grill are cut and prepared.  French bread is waiting to be torn off as needed, and two lovely pink candles (a anniversary gift from a friend) are waiting to be burned.  We are setting this day aside for us -- because that's what we were first...us.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not all those who wander are lost. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.  Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.  ~Malcolm X

I'm not a radical.  I grew up in a sleepy town that afforded me certain freedoms city folk just didn't have.  The days of summer were slow, languid and stretched out like a rippling curtain of promise.  Mornings spent eating cereal at a table with a vase of daffodils, packing a lunchbox with baloney sandwiches and hopping on my pink Huffy bike to ride off where the wind blew.  The back alley was a freedom highway for me.  This was before they widened it and built restaurants(The Farmstead), banks, and hotels.  Back then, riding up to Toothpick's house (our Amish neighbors up the road) was the biggest adventure I could have.  I was eventually allowed to go a little further and bike up to Boyd & Wurthmann's grocery store.  I can still see the dark, wide planks of wood that graced the floor of that old place.  Tiny aisles filled with white bread, cans of Campbell's soup, and finally making my way to the candy display.  Mars bars, packs of baseball cards with that hard as cement piece of gum, Reese cups, and Zero bars.  The paraphernalia of my youth, scattered through my memory, for some reason is coming to the surface today.  Alot of days were spent swinging on the tree swing Dad hung for us.  Rhonda and I each had one, and from forenoon til dusky, velvet evening, we were out there swinging in circles around those old trees.  Those trees are gone now, all cut down by the house's new owners. If only they had appreciated the history behind them. The radio would play and I was transported to the made-up places in my mind.  If I got bored with swinging, I would take off for Johnny's woods.  Over the gate I would climb and make the grassy trek through the field to the barb wire fence.  One hop and over would start my walk into the deep beautiful woods.  An old sugar shack stood for a long time deep in those woods, as did the story of an old Indian that supposedly lived there long ago.  I would poke around in the dark, verdant earth looking for arrowheads and any sign that I could find of this mysterious Indian.  Down a little further into the woods you came to a beautiful stream.  The hills were steep around it, and the water rushed over huge rocks.  Barefoot, I would stand in the water letting it flow around me.  Some days, I wish I could go back there just to stand.  Just to feel what I felt as a child before I grew up and the world became known to me. 

Coming from a small community has it's benefits.  People are quick to help when someone is in need.  There is no better cooking than here.  Mashed potatoes dripping with brown butter, Poor Man's steak, homemade strawberry jelly, and the finest bread anywhere.  It's a feast for the senses and the stomach.  I grew up here, I graduated here, and then I left here.  I was gone for a Voluntary Service short term stay in Texas.  This is where my whole world changed.  Some might think it changed because I met George there.  Yes, he changed my whole world in different ways.  He let the light in the almost impenetrable shell that surrounded me.  The shell that is put around you when you grow up in a town, that although wonderful, is somewhat sheltered from the world.  Everyone does everything the same way, and oft times, is never changed and nary a thought is given to it.  You might say, well Missy, you live here and are raising your children here.  Absolutely true.  I wanted my children to go to school here, to be raised here in this wonderful place.  I wanted them to have the same idyllic childhood that I had.  There is only one difference.  They are being raised to know that there are more ways to live, more ways to think, and more ways to love than that just exist here in Holmes County.  When I lived in San Antonio my eyes were opened with a swift blow to the head.  When I lived with George in Mexico for almost a year my head almost exploded.  Why?  Because I realized that there are so many people in the world, so many other ways of doing things, and so many other ways to get from point A to B.  So many times we travel along the well-beaten path, following in the same footsteps as everyone else.  My brother played this sport and so will I.  Well, my dad did too.  You should too because it would make him proud.  We do things, not because we always want to, just to please other people or because everyone else is doing it.  This might not be the case for you, but lately, it's all that's on my mind.  

Have you ever been argued with just because your idea was different? Because you presented another side of an issue?  Lots of people might be surprised to know what I know.  They might be shocked and surprised what we teach our children.  Why do you think they are surprised at this?  Because it's different.  Well, you can't teach a child that....you can't tell him that....you have to hide that from him.  I say no way.  My children are versed in the ways of this world, so they can be ready to enter into it when they leave our little nest.  You can take them to church, and teach them the right way to live, and in the end they will be on their own.  You pray their way through it.  I will not put shame on my kids if they choose a path that lies outside the path I have trod.  This is what I want for them!  I want them to grab this world and take from it what they can to forge their path.  A path that's not well-beaten and holds life's delicious mysteries for them.  

A canopy of lush tropical trees and vines flash by my eyes.  I'm looking up through the sun roof as the moist air rushes onto my face.  I'm driving to Acapulco, George at my side and behind the wheel.  I'm 20 years old and I'm free.  Free to explore this wide world and the unknown in it.  We stop at a roadside stand that sells exotic fruits.  We buy them, partake, and keep driving.  The decision to leave a good-paying job and travel to Mexico with George was a heart-renching decision.  Being raised in a small town makes it hard to leave.  It was a decision that, although not made lightly, was inevitable.  I never regretted it.  Leaving and driving away from home was the hardest thing I have ever done -- but it was also the best.  We came back, got married and raised our kids. We raised them in the same town that I was raised.  It was the right choice.

Our country, to a point, is eating itself alive.  Arguments, barbs, and hatred are pushing us back 60 years to a place America should never go back to.  I'm glad we have raised our children to be strong and never back down.  Sometimes the vitriol comes out stronger than we need it to sound.  I for one, never want to shove my views down anyone's throat.  But I will be heard.  I will never sit around and let someone tell me, just let it go --- that's just how we do it. Don't make a fuss, you don't want to be noticed. I reject that.  Being raised in a small town helped me to define who I was, and in a great way enabled me to become who I needed to be now.  The bible says that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.  I have had my share of silence -- it's now time to speak.  

There is, inside me, a yearning to still hit that open road.  I envision roads that wind  through misty mountain mornings.  People sleepily coming out of their houses to start their day.  The question is not if we'll ever go back to Mexico, it's when.  People gasp when I say this.  How could  you go to a country so dangerous?  Why would you do that?  They forget that my husband is from there. Born deep in the lushness that is Oaxaca.  He is an Aztec Indian, 100% so. Our children know we yearn for this.  For them, we will wait.  Wait until their schooling is done.  Wait until they know their path.  They want us to go -- maybe they will come with us.  George has lived in this country for 31 years.  Years filled with danger, anguish, and finally love and steadiness.  He is steadfast as a father and husband -- a warrior that's true to his nature.  For him, I will go.  Not only for him, though.  For my fast-beating heart that thrills at the thought of forging a new life.  

"Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thanks, Boho Mom, for the awesome quote!

Playing a little catch up

Back from Miami all, and I'm peeling like a potato.  I don't think I have ever peeled this much in my life. The sun was so intense and lovely down there that you feel as if you could lay in the sun forever.  When you're cavorting in the waves you don't feel it at all.  We stayed in one of the old art deco hotels right on Ocean Drive.  I did alot of searching beforehand for the right hotel and price.  I found this place, for four nights, and paid a song.  The only thing we didn't expect was the valet parking.  They charge you up front for four days of storage.  It was worth it though, because we only took the car out once to cruise through downtown Miami.  The rest of the time we spent walking to the beach, down Ocean Dr., Collins Ave., and Espaniola Way.  After the first day the walking became habit.  My figure benefited from this and I unknowingly lost some weight!  I'm continuing this trend by walking out at our high school track three times a week -- might as well keep going!  None of the hotels on Ocean Dr. have continental breakfast.  Instead,  you head out and snake your way through each hotel's restaurant.  They are all outside and everyday we had beautiful breakfasts with the palm trees and ocean crashing right in front of us.  The nice thing about eating at these restaurants is that they are all in competition with each other.  Everyday, we paid $4.25 for the best food ever.  All the competition drives the prices down, so we ate gourmet food for next to nothing.  My favorite breakfast was the spinach and mushroom omelette with hollandaise sauce, red potatoes with herbs, and cuban coffee.  Delectable.  It was an awesome vacation.  Careful planning and a little saving in advance will do you wonders on vacation.  We have never had money to throw around, but have always taken vacations to various places.  Good research and no plastic is what keeps us under control.  For the past ten years, any travel we have done has been without credit cards.  Mexico, New Jersey, Florida and various places have been traveled to with cash or debit.  It's so freeing knowing you won't have a bill to look forward to when you get home. 

We're now settled back in.  Laundry is finally finished and this is the first time I've been able to set down and share a few thoughts.  Belle is adjusting to being back home and we're are glad to have her.  We just this week bought a router so she can use her laptop at home.  It's a connection to her friends back in college, just like my computer is a pathway to the world.  Traveling can leave you exhausted, but all richer for having experienced it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Next week I will be laying under this tree.  We're picking up the girl in FL and all I'm packing is some flip-flops.  Can't wait to see her and lay awhile in the sand....