I did this as though it were my husband doing it. It has his approval now and corrections have been made. So these are, indeed, his thoughts and memories.
I am from rusty cast metal and the smell of old motor oil. I'm from Ford pickups and duct tape and fences built right.
I am from a deteriorating old two-story house with a new 38X40 foot shed out back where the workbench always holds at least one project. I’m from the heart of rolling farm country where the summer months are marked by how tall the corn is at the time.
I am from the fresh-plowed ground. I’m from alfalfa in late bud ready to mow, as I scan the sky for rainclouds.
I am from holding a grudge, and cursing those idiots on the freeway who don't know how to drive. I'm from hard drinking, hard-loving hillbillies, from Luther and George, from Silvey and Bradshaw.
I am from "Wood fits" and worrying, and feeling guilty if I’m not working, and feeling responsible for things over which I have no control. I’m from being able to fix almost anything with baling wire and pliers because we couldn’t afford to do it any other way. I’m from knowing what’s wrong with an engine just by listening to it.
I’m from being knocked clear across the room by my dad when my brother and I tried to protect Mom from him. I’m from the story Dad told, laughing, of me, aged two-and-a-half and my brother, aged one, sitting in the floor eating chocolate cherries. When I started crying about something, Donald saw the cherry in my mouth, picked it out, and ate it. Then I cried even harder.
I’m from two years of Boy Scouts and a brief spell of Pentecostalism during which I got baptized. Then the married preacher ran off with the married pianist and our family quit going to Church for a long time. I’m from wondering why the preacher has a better house and car than most of the people in his congregation and why he is always begging for money, and doubting that he really does much in the way of work, beyond creating a couple of sermons each week.
I’m from central Missouri, where the Ozarks begin; born at home, my mother’s second child and my father’s first. I’m from cinnamon flat, and potato soup and cornbread, and sweet iced tea.
I’m from the story about my single mom being pregnant at age 16 and having morning sickness, and her sister figured it out and told their mother. Granny told my Mom, as she was vomiting, “that baby didn’t git in you thataway, and you ain’t a-gonna git it out thataway.” I’m from a boy who was messing with the mules when he wasn’t supposed to and got kicked and was afraid to tell because he’d get a thrashing. So he just went to bed with the pain for a couple of days, and when his parents realized he had a broken back, it was too late to do anything about it. So my dad was hunchbacked all his life.
I’m from my childhood school pictures stuffed in a Bible so that when our house burned, those were the only photos we saved. I’m from keepsakes shoved in a room upstairs by my wife, and a Buck pocketknife forced on me years ago by a friend when he was drunk that I’ve never used because I prefer a cheaper kind; but I keep it anyhow. I’m from being surprised when I get something I really want because I grew up thinking dreams never come true.
But they do.