Where I'm from.

September 21, 2011

I am from the corner house on the street filled with bikes and manicured lawns and neighbors whose doors were always open, the neighborhood kids in and out of the houses without knocking, running out to the ice cream truck as it made its daily stop, begging, yelling for change from our Daddy's pocket.


I am from sidewalk chalk on the back patio, from rusty swing sets and homemade tree houses, from ice skating with roller blades on the garage cement, from the sprinklers that never stopped spraying in the summer.


I am from the tall climbing oak trees, the soft, green grass on my bare feet, the pecan tree that my grandfather grew, bringing in the nuts for us to hand-crack, with a magnolia tree just outside the window that was the perfect hiding spot from the cousins.


I am from saying ma'ams and sirs and learning how to balance a strong will with respect, from Chuck and Julia and a couple of Bill's and a lot of strong willed women whose genes got passed down just fine and got even stronger as they made their way down.


I am from the come on in and sit down and here's some food and do for others as you would have done to you kind of talk and if you don't have anything nice to say, then you better not say it.


From the bluebird that sat at the kitchen window telling my Mama all of our secrets and the made-up stories of leprechauns that lived under our trampoline where being the oldest cousin of ten had its perks as the younger ones squirmed and ran off to tattle.


I am from God, whether we made it to church every Sunday or not, and I was taught I am His child first, whether I was perfect all of the time or not.


I'm from Texas, born and raised on chili and brisket and cornbread, though half my blood is from Mississippi, where biscuits and grits are a staple in my grandmother's kitchen.

From the brothers who traveled from England to Tennessee, the Cherokee Indian who married that white man, and the small towns in Mississippi and Texas that raised those who came before me.


I am from the boxed up dolls in the attic, the faded, crinkled pictures in the boxes, the hand-written notes and letters and journals that captured my every day.


And from that very girl came someone who had the courage to up and leave where she came from to make a bigger life for herself in the desert that is always hot and dusty, living in a rental house with a husband who comes home to her each night because he loves her, with a dog at her feet who is the most loyal of all, hoping only that her children can say one day that they are from sidewalk chalk, bare feet on grass and a homemade tree house, too.



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