Where I’m From
Where I’m From…
I am from Coca-Cola and orange soda straight from the bottle, and drinking from the garden hose on a hot day. I’m from leaving the house in the morning and staying gone till dusk, till Daddy’s voice called me home. From handlebar pumping, treehouses, double-daring, and carving my own rubberband gun from a stick. I’m from no cell phones, computers, vcr’s, or cable TV. From black rotary phones wired to the wall, Hee Haw and Disney on Sunday evenings, and three-cent green apple bubble gum.
I am from the only 2-story house on the block, that was really just a converted attic. I’m from duct work made from a Dentler’s Chip can and wires held together with duct tape. From the upstairs room with the shower that never was. From a carpenter’s house, where the smell of sawdust and grease will always make me close my eyes and see my father’s hands, and the sound of an arm saw makes me long for hot summers in a dusty garage.
I am from the magnolia and dogwood trees that flower the sky of Southeast Texas, and the pinks, purples and whites of azaleas. From deep green St Augustine grass and verbenia bushes with millions of red berries that will kill you if you eat them…or so we were told.
I am from homemade ice cream cranked in a bucket while someone sat on the lid, watermelon seed wars, camping on the Neches River bank in East Texas where the stars were many, waterskiing, and playing Chinese Checkers and Yahtzee in a homemade wooden and felt box made by my dad. I’m from Duchess, Prince, Duke, Honey, and Brandi, all beloved dogs buried in the backyard at a house I can only see from across the street now. I’m from unlocked doors and just walking in, and sitting on the front porch drinking coffee.
I’m from Lovelace eyebrows and Milburn smiles, Nanny’s drama and Maw Maw’s sweet silliness. From craziness everyone talks about, and skeletons no one talks about. From blue eyes and curly hair and two big brothers. From chain smokers and staying in a log cabin on vacation for me when Mom really wanted a hotel.
From y’all, fixin to, ice box, and because I said so. From pulling weeds at the roots and dusting every single nack nack on weekends.
I am from Lutherans and Baptists, and sitting on the right side because no one had ever sat on the left.
I’m from Port Neches and Copperas Cove and Indian arrow heads on a hill. From lemon meringue pie and sand tarts at Christmas, homemade soup and shrimp gumbo, Steen’s Cane Syrup and Daddy’s special milk hash on toast to give Mom a break. I’m from ritz crackers with peanut butter, frozen bananas, and midnight snacks of sugar bread with hot milk.
I am from a homemade treasure trunk full of black and white pictures, a closet full of cards and letters and macaroni projects from children now grown, and the box of handmade Christmas ribbons used every year because giving them back was the rule. From overcoming economic hardship, union strikes, divorce, illness, and any adversity. I’m from June and Buddy, who I miss so much it aches.