Monday, July 04, 2005

Rehash: Holiday Monday Style

View from the "hill top" at the Old Gould Homeplace. (Click picture for larger view.) Posted by Picasa

This is rehash holiday edition. This entry was first published on my now defunct Xanga site. The picture is new and don't get too excited when you get to the end. Nyssa is no longer 12 hours away in Sewanee, Tennessee. She is here and so my heart is lighter.

Friday, February 25, 2005 - 12:21 AM
I went on a trip last month, a marathon event...Virginia to Chicago to Indiana to southern Illinois to Sewanee, Tennessee and back to Virginia. I don't know how many miles it was but it was worth it. It was worth seeing the smiles and pride in my parent's faces as they heard their only son sing professionally with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, they had never heard him sing classically before. My daughter, Nyssa and I both have heard him in operas in Europe and with the symphony here in the US. But for them, it was a first. Their health may preclude them from ever hearing him or seeing him sing in Bayreuth or Vienna or Florence. So, you do what you can to make even a little part of their dreams come true.

Since we were there......let's go see everyone. Again, not my first choice of a vacation...I have never liked living out of a suitcase for two weeks or sleeping on sleeper sofas...or driving in snow with frozen windshield washer fluid and temperatures in the single digits. Yes, there is a “but” coming here....but, it brings back old memories as new ones are built.

I met a cousin that I honestly never knew well. He is younger...ok...they are ALL younger than me (great when you are a kid to be the oldest, but now a sore point). He moved back to Indiana near his parents, he lives close enough to help them out. He is a really, really nice guy, generous, fun to be around and very down to earth. I wish I had known him better as a kid. I saw his sister too...can't remember where she fit in the scheme of cousins...hey, there are fourteen of us and after the first three, they got closer together and I got confused. She is amazingly kind and sweet too. I did not know this set of cousins well and it is my loss.

Southern Dad's home place...the farm. How long had it been since I was there? Let's see...Nyssa was 15 months old, I guess that makes it 17 years. My cousins there I knew well. They lived there so whenever we came...they were there to play with. What a mish-mash we are...fourteen in total. The two youngest grew up in California and they do not have any of the memories of the farm that the rest of us do. There are eight boys and six girls. Of the eight boys only two are married. Of the six girls, five are married, one divorced (me). Apparently we do not do well in love...especially the guys.

As for professions it runs the gamut... farmer, artist/architect/woodworker/farmer, farmer/woodworker(and I must say the furniture he and his brother makes is absolutely out-of-this-world, teacher, accountant, journalist, engineer, computer technologist, topologist, Helden tenor opera star and out-of-work physician.

What we have in common is "The Farm". Sure, the farmhouse with the added on bathroom in the back is gone now. The big barn by the sheep pen where Grandpa and I would dig for fishing worms has been torn down. The pine grove with the branches about a foot above our heads is more open...fewer trees and those left much taller...what, did I think they were going to stay that size for 35 years? But, the curving lane, the fishing pond and the land is still there. And the smokehouse, my beloved smokehouse is still there, although now attached to a garage instead of the 100 year old house, but still there. Yes, the memories are there too. Of playing forts and cowboys in the pine grove with the befuddled sheep looking on. Memories of fishing alone with Grandpa or dealing with the younger cousins being too noisy and scaring the fish. Of sitting on the big wrap-around front porch of the old big house in the hot summer eating watermelon without a spoon or swinging in the three person swing hung from the ceiling of the porch. Memories of gathering eggs with my Grandmother in the henhouse and riding on the tractor with my Grandpa. Grandma always forgot my birthday, it was too close to Christmas and there were so many of us....but she was the only person to notice that I colored my hair and told me so. I didn't get to live there like some of my cousins but it was special to me and it still gives a sense of home.

That sense of home is missing a lot of times. I never really felt it in Mississippi...didn't want to move there but had to get a job and support my small child...always thought I would move on east, but stayed a little too long. It became home to Nyssa but never to me. Now, I am least closer to it...back with my parents. Maybe home is where the good memories it would be at the farm, at college, with my child and my animals. Home is where the memories are and it shifts depending on where those we love are. Right now, I'm torn. I'm here but Nyssa is twelve hours away and the biggest part of "my home" is with her.

Good-night sweet princess.

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