I walked out into the humid July sun feeling more free than I’ve felt in months.
I could breathe and I needed it although it was hot and made me want to gag a bit. The humidity cranked at our skin leaving us covered in an uncomfortable sweat but there was excitement. My skin was wet, the back of my neck under my thick hair damp and rank within mere seconds yet there was some hope of things to come.
I sought the joys of living in rural America. This week, a local farmer I only know as R.D., brought me dozens of peaches and creme corn. Why, I do not know. I was given tomatoes and banana peppers. Three bags full which I only paid $4 dollars for. They had just been picked yesterday morning and I had them, guarding them with glee by noon and knowing they were good as they were still covered in dirt.
We went to Hooterville-Extreme which is the farm that Squirrel Queen’s mother owns. We see her rebuilding after the death of her husband and we hope that we are helpful. We sat and talked about dogs and beer and the Internet and her still prevalent fear that people that we meet online are wiggy. She has decided, because the night her mother died, when CeeElcee, called that he is a good boy. She says bloggers can come to the farm but she needs to weed out what she calls her “rednecks” first. She wants to see what this is all about. This reminds me of Kathy Griffin’s “gays.” I like it.
And then we found crawfish that a man brought up at a local restaurant which I helped devour two pounds of. There are some that will get this is that it is nearly my favorite thing other than Nutella and Bass Beer, Brie and pickled okra, anything picked and fresh homemade purple hull peas smothered in Chow Chow. As I ate them, and yes I did, my mouth burning from the spices covering the small creatures. I took picture after picture of the food that I adore the most.
We headed home and the remnants of what I believe Dolly hit us with a violent ferocity that I found myself compelled by. We stopped to find Badger and we talked about our new fascination with darts. Squirrel Queen has gotten amazingly good and Badger knows more than she reveals. We stood downtown on the streets of where we live, watching the lightening crash around us. The thunder I could here. I still can’t hear as well as I could and I know that I’ve taken a hit. My dad has lost his hearing and I’m wondering if I’m joining him, tied to the realities of genetics. I grow older and the audio darkness is real. I worry about this the next time I see my friends in the state who blog. It scares me. You will hear me say “Huh?” I can’t hear.
But I felt and heard the thunder and I didn’t want to return inside.
It felt so very real. like I could taste it. I felt alive. SQ grabbed my sleeve and led me gently into safety.
I didn’t want to go.
We talked of Stew and played darts all evening. It was more than wonderful although I didn’t win a game.
I awoke this morning and Homer and I talked of things happening in Hoots and how we are amused by more of it than we are outraged. She decided, as she is the Alpha, that today we would honor our mother and grandmother’s tradition of cooking a traditional country meal. I headed to the local farmer’s market, which is nothing like you will find in the city. Pickup trucks filled with peaches and cream corn, green tomatoes, squash, dozens of kinds of tomatoes and so much more. We saw a local business woman I admire who had a Boxer puppy with her who had striped fur who licked my hand and gave me a sly lick on the mouth.
And then we bought a dart board for the house at a local pawn shope and decided to get a Cadillac’s cheeseburger and play a game of darts.
We only play 301. We are smitten. We will learn more.
A man named Ike sat at the bar and asked if he could play darts with us. We didn’t want the interference. But we said yes.
He was lovely although at the end of three games asked us if we were married. He had been to Vietnam and talked about he used to play with “the boys.” We knew he was looking for lady companionship yet there was no interest from us as he held a cold Miller in his hand as he wore his Vietnam Vet hat.
He was a gentleman. He told of us of his puppy which is a pit bull. He calls her Diamond. He says that she is the only thing he’s ever loved. He works in Ethanol.
He said the world was dying.
He hit three bulls eyes in a row, but Squirrel Queen beat him every time. She’s that good.
We went home and cooked a country dinner like our mothers and grandmothers’ made and the closeness of a good kitchen filled with people who love each other was outstanding.
Homer looked at me ,once, with sadness in her eyes but then again, she’s not nostalgic. That could have been me wanting to see it as we honored the food of the women who made us.
I look for meaning everywhere.
It is not even 7 p.m. and SQ is asleep. Tired from the week of burying our friend, from trying to find meaning and knowing that life isn’t always easy.
And my first day of a vacation is over.