Monday, March 31, 2014

I Am From

I am from sweeping expanse of country where the fragrance of cottonwood trees would drift in through our old farmhouse windows, and puffballs of cotton seed would stick to the screen, as the soft breeze rustled white cotton curtains. 

I am from the state that has more cattle than people per square mile in most areas. The state that has more usable water than any other state in the United States. The state where water pumps through the veins of a massive aquifer, deep below the surface, and up though the clatter of windmills that dot the landscape still. 

I am from the mid-west, where furrows are bore out in the spring, which soon sprout shoots of green that become an army of standing corn rows, waving their tasseled tops at the sky. 

I am from a state that has historic trails profoundly etched and crisscrossed, into its history and my heart. Where many brave men and women traveled in search of a better life. I am from, a place where landmarks still stood, 
in memory of those who left their footprints here. 

I am from the turn of the century farmstead with multiple barns, each with their musty smells and dim lighting which were used for storing hay, grain and milking cows. 

I am from the place that was a virtual playground of hand hewn forts and trees that hung their limbs low, to help us climb high for a lookout post. Where wild flowers grew and prairie grass stood so tall in the fields, that you could lay down, face to the sun and watch clouds form into every imaginary shape, as the world spun on and no one could find you for hours.

I am from the forty acres, just north of town, that some folks visiting fondly called "the farm," even though it was only an acreage. The place where two parents did their level best to raise four crazy kids, better than they had it. 

I am from a home where dad went to work long hours and mom left behind her own dreams for the sake of ours. Where meat and potatoes were served every meal on our grey Formica table that sat centered in the big window of a compact kitchen. Where roast beef, potatoes, carrots and gravy were served on Sunday. Hash gravy was on deck for Monday. A large Pyrex bowl of spaghetti on Tuesday. 

I am from a family of six, where we four kids, two girls and two boys, shared one bedroom all but a few years that we lived at home. Where mom stripped every bed and washed, then hung sheets on the line to dry on Monday. Every. Monday.

I am from the family who had a special need boy. The boy who got picked on and was never picked for anyone's team and who made me stand up to fight for the underdog, 
even though it wasn't the cool thing to do. 

I am from a neighborhood where kids came to play baseball in our field. Where we all ran in the wooded acres, splashed in the clear stream fed by an artisan vein, and gathered wild grapes that grew in abundance. Where everyone really did know your name and the ladies all gathered every month for coffee, and a few living, still do. Where we played all day outside until dark or until dad would blow the horn that he installed high on a telephone pole, which resembled the eerie wail of an old Model T, with a shrill "oooooogha" that pierced to the deepest corner of our world. At that sound we dropped whatever we were doing and ran like the wind to get home. 

I am from a mom, who would have us come in early on Saturday nights to take baths and then she would clip pin curls in my hair to sleep on. In the morning crazy curls were unfurled and we loaded up to attend church.

I am from the church that had beautiful stain glass windows and two organs. The church where I was baptized once and married once. The one with a huge gymnasium on the top floor that now echos only silence and crooked stairs that led to the bell tower. The building that had a small chapel, tucked in the center where you could go to be alone and pray.

I am from summer Bible school programs that my mom always cooked for and games of red-rover-red-rover were played on the asphalt of the church parking lot.

I am from the old country school that went up to 8th grade. 
The red brick building, that grew from being only one room. The place that had huge iron swing-sets, which we did back-flips out of. High welded monkey bars that I knocked myself out on, when the corner was cut too close and thick wood teeter-totters that someone always got hurt on, when their partner jumped off while you were up in the air.

I am from the place where we took sack lunches to school every day, that held handmade sandwiches, fruit and homemade cookies. Nothing processed. We were sure that we were abused.

I am from the country where my first friend was named Mary and we gathered eggs, rode horses, played in the tree line with broken dishes and slid down the laundry shoot from the second floor. The place that has an old box car parked deep in the wooded calving area that had old books thrown out from the country school we attended.

I am from small town America where I learned to drive young, in my dad’s pride and joy, black GMC pickup truck, with a distinctly pointed hood. Dad would stand in the back and drop off hay bales in a meandering line to the cows while my brother and I fought over who would steer. We bounced through the field trying not to knock Dad to the ground as we went along.

I am from a time when mom would give us five cents each and send us to the little store near my grandmas to get candy, so she could have a few minutes alone with another adult.

I am from thirty-six cousins on my mother’s side who loved to be together. Perhaps my favorite was when we gathered for 4th of July, at the lake south of town where we ate fried chicken and Aunt Pat’s potato salad. Where we walked barefoot on the rocky lane to the lake, bobbed on waves in inter-tubes all day and went home sun-kissed and happy that night.

I am from a mom who took us to the library, all the time and encouraged us to read, so we could travel to the places we didn't have the money to go visit. And I was Little House On The PrairieThe Box Car Children and Anne Of Green Gables.

I'm from a dad who worked his way up the corporate, management ladder, while mom tried to maintain everything else. A mom who could cook large 
amounts of food in a hurry, plus cinnamon rolls and pans of her signature brownies. 

I am from the country where it was cool to be in 4-H and take care of calves, sheep, pigs and get blue ribbons for one egg cakes. I am from the family that thought they were poor, 
but turns out we were rich.

I am from hard work and holding non-traditional jobs. Pumping gas at sixteen in a full service gas station, complete with window washing and oil changes. There was the excavation company, where I ran a shovel, a skid loader and learned how to drive trucks with trailers and could back-up any rig, long distances, in most any situation. I am from, being hired to build trains, as one of a hand full of women who held the title of switchman, in this, the world’s largest train reclassification yard. 

I am from the place of a broken heart, standing on a howling hill, over a grave too early, being a single mom and discovering that life just goes on, even after death. 

I am from the second born. The second daughter, who always felt like she might just be, second in all of life. I am from second changes and knowing that sometimes love sweeps you off your hearts-feet when you aren't looking and your children turn out to be more amazing than you ever could have planned. I am from grace, poured out.

I am from the refining fires of tragedy, grief, cancer and loss. I am from people who cut the fibers of my heart, so that now, I can extend Grace, just as it was extended to me. I am for the widow, the orphan, and the broken, for the ones that others pass by. I am passionate to hear people’s stories and where they are from. I often run ahead of God, but love Jesus with all my whole heart, soul, mind and 

I am from one-thousand hurts and ten-thousand blessing that molded the shape of my heart. Sometimes you have to look back and see where you are from, so you can appreciate where you are.


It is a gift.

Soon it will be tomorrow and this will be yesterday. 

Where are you from? 

My friend Elizabeth Stewart who writes here at "Just Following Jesus", wrote her "I Am From" post, last year and I have wanted to try my hand at it too as we wrap up another session at .

Originally "I Am From" was posted  here: at She Loves Magazine


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© Rhonda Quaney