On the way home from a day of swimming and a picnic at Lake Waveland, it was so stinkin’ hot, Aunt Francis took her shirt off and was doing 65 down Highway 47 in her bra–pointing to houses and farms. “That’s where Lilly Anne grew up. Remember her? She married so & so and lives over by your cousins in New Market. Oh, and that used to be Ed’s place–remember–he’s your Uncle Fred’s friend.…”
Later on that evening she said, “Don’t know what the big fuss was all about. What’s the difference between a bra and a bikini top? I know it was a white Playtex Cross Your Heart from JCPenney’s, but the officer didn’t have to be so rude about it. I might as well have had a rattlesnake on my head, a dead cat in my lap and a coffin tied to the top of the station wagon.”
When we finally made it home, Aunt Francis was so aggravated, she forgot to put sugar in the sweet tea and nearly set her favorite apron alight leaning over the stove fixing Uncle Fred’s supper.
Uncle Fred really didn’t give two shits that his wife was driving around in her bra. He was just mad as hell about the fifty dollar speeding ticket. After he cooled off, he said he thought the bra incident was about the funniest damned thing he’d ever heard–especially since his buddy Ed saw Aunt Francis drive by and thought his eyes were playing tricks on him in the late afternoon sun.
The nostalgia bug crawls up everyone’s pant leg, at least once in a while. One of the things I miss most about home and the time in which I grew up, is all the freedom I had to wander around town at night. We played outside long after dark–rode our bicycles, or walked everywhere we went–snooping around the lumberyard and hiding in the timber and old buildings, playing Kick-the-Can (which was a hepped-up version of hide-n-seek), or just doing typical kid-stuff on the playground. We had nighttime sledding parties with bonfires and the mechanic/owner of the service station, would give us tractor tire inner-tubes to use as sleds. Dad and I would often bundle up and go for late evening walks in the snow and quiet of town–talking about school, or my brothers’ latest antics.
My family owned the same home for nearly 30 years, though I never had a key to it. The door was never locked unless everyone was in bed. The car keys were never missing because they could always be found in the ignition. It was the cliché sleepy little town–with no traffic lights, and few street signs for most of my life there. I didn’t learn my street address until I was in my 20s. The new signs were preceded by an unfortunate incident in which ambulance drivers couldn’t find the home in need because streets and houses weren’t properly marked. Most of the folks in town had P.O. Boxes. Ours was P.O. Box 177. I won’t share the lock’s combination just in case (like most of the town) it hasn’t changed!
Don’t want no pallet on your floor
Don’t want no road that’s bound for nowhere
I want my feet on solid ground
I got no need to be running around
Don’t have big dreams that will never be
Don’t need some fool to try and convince me
What I can plainly see
All I want is simplicity
Won’t spend a dime on the lottery
No mountain of money is gonna keep me happy
The endless pursuit of shiny things
Is like chasing your tail to misery
It’s the sweet little things that make me smile
The back road home for the extra mile
The click of claws on the kitchen tile
My bare feet on my Momma’s soil