Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Birthday greetings from the caboose...

I moved back to Cumberland County in December 2009 because I was just ready to be "home." I wanted to watch my niece grow up.  I wanted to attend impromptu weeknight dinners at Mom's and have early morning, coffee time on her front porch swing.  I wanted to spend as much time with my Dad as possible. These things simply superseded any questions of jobs, friends, or activities; I would find something to do and until then, I could keep my job at UK.  Driving never bothered me. I could see some of my friends from high school again. It would be fun to catch up and get to know them as adults.  I could hang out with my family or just go to Glasgow or Bowling Green if I got bored. I told myself all of these things.  And, they were true; I worked at UK a semester and then found an amazing job at the library.  I have loved getting reacquainted with wonderful women like Misty Dubre, Amanda England, and Leslie Conner.  I am blessed with a hilarious family and hang out with them all the time. 

Two things surprised me a bit, though.

The first is a general theme of this blog. I have found a million interesting things to do in this small, rural town, a one-stoplight hamlet full of characters even the best screenwriter couldn't accurately capture. No matter where you are, there are interesting people.  Choose to be around them.  Choose to let yourself be creative.  Choose to "do" rather than just talk. Choose to be active in your own life.  Even in a place most would never consider a hotbed of art, excitement, or intrigue, I have found that I do more interesting and inspiring things than I ever have before in my life.  I love that.

Secondly, and more importantly, I have found new friendships, one in particular, that truly enrich my life everyday.  And by "enrich," I mean: a friendship that makes every day funnier; a friendship that honestly makes me want to be better, a more devoted family member, a more creative person, a more involved community member; a friendship that is consistently an outlet for the sarcastic, playful shenanigans that dance around in my mind daily; a friendship that reminds me that women aren't always horrible to one another; a friendship that keeps me grounded, reminding me that small things aren't worth the worry and that I, and my issues, aren't nearly as important as I try to make them; a friendship built on a realistic, "it is what it is" life mantra, not because we don't care about the other, but because we understand each other well enough to know empty words of comfort aren't actually comforting; a friendship shared between two people who care about our families, our friends, our community, and notions of "just do the right thing because it's the right thing," but who detest showy acts of "do-gooding;" a friendship strengthened by Pinterest projects, Minit Mart fountain drinks, and the occasional (everyday) reference to our fast track to hell; a friendship that has inspired numerous "I'm grateful today for..." entries in my gratitude jar; an unexpected friendship that has made being back in Cumberland County even more fulfilling and one that inspires me to stay. 

She is the mother I would've loved, and would love, to have if Jackie Turner weren't so awesome.  She is one half of a relationship, started when she was only a teenager, that lasted nearly forty years, a relationship replete with love, laughter, spontaneity, kindness, and a spirited appreciation for life.  She is a grandmother that creates princess-themed birthday cakes and plans weekend vacations and attends every baseball game and school play. She is the co-worker who solves the world's problems with me three days a week. She can be found at the farmers market on Saturday morning and Relay for Life fundraisers on Tuesday nights and in her kitchen at 9 pm, after an already busy day, working on mustache Christmas ornaments for all of the Turner women. 

She is the type of person I want to be, the type we should all be so lucky to have in our lives. Happy birthday to my dear friend, Terry Staley.

A couple of suggestions...
Check out The Fine Arts Bistro on the square in Glasgow when you get a chance: delicious crepes, great coffee, and a cool atmosphere.

And if you make your way to the Sparta, TN area, definitely stop by the Frangrant Mushroom Pottery Studio, where you can find hand-thrown pottery, homemade candles, original art, and local crafts (this is probably my favorite shop within a two-hour radius).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

So God Made a Farmer...

I know I'm not alone in describing this Dodge commercial as my favorite of Super Bowl night. Substandard originality, however, is not going to stop me from devoting an entire post to it. This welcomed two minute reprieve from dancing pistachios and unfunny babies reminded me of my part-time job as an afternoon and weekend deejay at WKYR when I was 17 years old.  In between butchering or laughing at what people called into Swap Shop to sell, I would often play Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story," a series I've come to appreciate so much more with age than I did as that high school kid having fun on the radio. It reminded me of navy, cropped FFA jackets so emblematic of warm June nights spent exploring Louisville with Mom, Dad, Leigh Ann, and the assortment of teenage students who had decided to attend the FFA convention at the Galt House.  And most importantly, it reminded me of my favorite farmer, the man I respect more than any other I’ll ever know.

He got up before sunrise nearly every morning and fixed eggs, toast, gravy and coffee. He'd feed animals before and after school, the same animals he was willing to sleep in the barn beside if need be. In the summer, he'd spend every daylight hour working the farm he loved. He was in fact strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to be there when his daughters cried. He tamed cantankerous machinery and could shape an ax handle. He could make about anything out of hay wire and feed sacks. He could clear trees and heave bails, but also care for a colt, calf, or pup with compassion that seemed equally natural. He plowed deep and straight and didn't cut corners. 

He was a farmer.
Luckily for me, he was also my Dad.

*For background on the Dodge commercial, see this Huffington Post or this NPR article.
If by some chance, I don't buy a Dodge Ram when the ol' Elantra finally waves the white flag, here are some options I'd consider...
How can you not love a hatchback? - Honda Crosstour
I think the new Kia Optimas are quite sharp.
I've always loved Mini Coopers.
I suppose I'd take a BMW hybrid SUV, too.