WHERE I’M FROM
I am from the farms and small towns of the midwest where chickens roam and scratch about the yards, and roosters start crowing two hours before dawn; I am from Allis Chalmers tractors and Maytag wringer washers. I am from old two-story houses in the flatlands of Iowa and the rolling hills of Missouri. I am from dandelions and violets and Maybaskets, from the lilacs and fresh-tilled earth. I am from annual family reunions and hard-headed people, from Smiths and Allens and Stevens'.
I am from teetotalers and heavy-set women and huge dinners on Sunday; I am from men in overalls discussing farming techniques and the prices of crops and livestock over meals, after church, and at all gatherings.
I am from Mother Goose rhymes and Heidi and The Brothers Grimm fairy tales. I am from "no sex education until the sixth grade", when the school nurse told all us girls about it and everybody already knew but me.
I am from the Church of Christ, which believes any instrumental music in Church is sinful, and that no other church or denomination will make it to heaven; where songbooks are shaped-note and everybody sings alto, suprano, tenor or bass; and there is no choir because the whole congregation sings.
I'm from the cornfields of Iowa, from noodles, creamed turnips, strawberry shortcake, and cinnamon rolls. I am from warm, foamy buckets of milk just drawn from the cow, and cream so thick that it stands up on the spoon in a heap.
I am from a mother who had a birthmark covering her right arm and hand because she was "marked" when Grandma scalded her right breast while carrying her in the womb; from hot-tempered men who were likely to throw things when they were angry, like my paternal grandfather, who hit a draft horse in the head with his fist and put it to its knees, so I’ve been told. I am from women who died in childbirth... My daddy's mom, and his first wife. I am from women who sewed and crocheted and quilted and wore their hair in buns and planted their gardens by the "signs".
I am from musty attics and old diaries and photographs with the corners nibbled by mice; I am from cool cellers full of colorful jars of home-canned peaches, green beans, pickled beets and jam and jellies. I am from winding creeks and gravel roads and wooded places, things that are priceless to me because they made me who I am: a person who has remained a child at heart, who has enjoyed life more than any person has a right to, without a shred of guilt about it.
I like where I’m from.