There is something

There is something about being here…
I find it hard to explain. Whenever I talk to people about going home
or the drive home and how it’s my favorite drive ever…
how the same stretch of road, northbound instead of south
is just
not the same,

well,

I think I confuse them. At least,
if they have never known home as a place.
I understand home as a concept of people and hearts and souls connecting,
how walls and concrete and landmarks don’t always have to be a part of it.

But let me tell you something.

When there are walls and buildings…pastures and streams,
trees that your great-grandparents got married under,
churches where people came to know the Lord,
an ancient shady grove that was home to revivals and picnics,
a piece of land once home to a tribe,
hard clay soil turned over and made to produce crops…
when these places co-exist
and carry the memories of those people and hearts and souls — my memories, my parents’ and grandparents’ memories — I’m telling you, that is something.

Sometimes, I think people don’t get it
when I say you couldn’t drag me away from here.
How in my mind I can
fly, fly away
and breathe and live and enjoy
all the rest of the world that God has made, but my feet are like anchors and here I will remain.

I Am Rich

Where I come from. That’s been a pretty common theme around this place. As I’ve grown over the years, those of you who have been reading have seen me go from wide-eyed small town girl planted in the middle of the state’s largest university with all kinds of dreams floating through my head, to a domesticated married lady in my mid-twenties, looking forward to the future. And so, while you’ve heard most of that, today’s McLinky at Real Housewives of Oklahoma (you read that right) is “Where I Come From.” I figure there’s more left to say.

It took me leaving my hometown to realize just exactly where I belong. I can remember sitting in the middle of a cultural studies course at the University of Oklahoma and hearing someone trashing the “small” town they were from. First of all, they hailed from a town with 20k+ residents. Sugarpie, you can get back to me when you live within a 15-mile radius of where your family has been settled for the past 100 years, with a population of no more than 15, between the signs, counting the barn cats.

No, really.

Hearing that and so many other things, having new experiences, and knowing that Taco Bell was open at 2AM if I really needed them — all those things opened my eyes. I love my home.

My home is Pernell, Oklahoma. It’s not Elmore City, where I was sent to school when we consolidated in 1992. No, my home is that strip of highway in the middle of the country. Twenty miles west of Pauls Valley, thirty-five east of Duncan, eight north of Ratliff City, and an hour (give or take) south of Norman.

If it was just the town that I was tied to, it wouldn’t be home to me. What makes it my home are the people and the memories tied to the place. I am tethered there. Somewhere atop that hill Nannie and Pappy’s house sits on, my heart is buried deep in the hard clay.

It took growing a little bit older to find out all these things about myself. If anything, I was the child with the wildest dreams about getting away, making something of myself, and never coming back to that smalltown. Now, I’d do anything to get back there and stay.

Because what I come from is a deep sense of family.
A respect for the land.
A love of springtime and gardens.
A need for the quiet and peace you can only find in the country.
A desire for the Word.
A godly heritage.

Men who believed in raising and standing by their family.
Who supported their families in plenty and in want.
Who toiled and dug and reached down into the earth until it produced.
Who were funny as all get out.
Who had strong exteriors, but the most tender of hearts.
Who believed in serving the Lord.

Women that would walk miles to get what their family needed.
Who made food stretch and feed as many mouths as would crowd around the table.
Who spoke truth.
Who raised a passel of children and shared with them all the love of Jesus.
Who worked a garden of red clay and made it produce the sweetest fruits.
Who loved with every breath they had in them.

Where I come from is a clay hill surrounded by good bottom land. What I come from is a line of men and women who lived fully, gave everything, and loved without measure.

I could not ask for more. Because of them, I know that I can live a full life right where I am. Wherever that is.