So I promised you a series, and that’s what you’re gonna get. You’re probably going to continue hearing some of my other rambles, too, but I’m “finding the good” wherever it catches me. (We’ll assume it won’t catch me in a swimming suit!) 🙂
The crazy part is that I didn’t have to look that far. In fact, I have so many thoughts, it was hard to narrow down to what to use next.
I decided on this.
I’ll be honest, I’ve driven by a million times. I’ve looked at it, admired it, and thought how thankful I was that somebody went to the work of keeping it up, but I’ve never actually set foot in it until now. I’m so glad I did. Not only is it gorgeous from the road, but even better from within. I daresay it was Robert Frost-ish.
It’s a hot day out. I sat down on the bench and it was like a cool spring breeze under the cover of the trees. I couldn’t even believe it. And I read the signs of who donated things like the tree donated in memory of Chrissy Galitz or the railing donated in honor of Abe Pierce or the gazebo in memory of AC and Mary Ellen Vieth. I don’t know if I can truly put into words the emotions that were sitting there with me of all the people that make up our little town.
It’s like a John Cougar Mellancamp Small Town moment right here in Oakland, Iowa. I’ve got the American flag rep, the bench tucked away in the trees, and people who put a ton of work into making sure the plants grow, the mulch stays pretty, and weeds stay out (they deserve a place in heaven for that!), and they do it because they care. I am tired of the assumption that the people who do this work are those with more time than the rest of us. Rarely is that the case. They just choose their priorities differently. They are not getting paid. They are not inmates. They are just wonderful people with a desire to see our town look nice. It’s their little piece of giving back.
You just can’t put a price on that...
If you know all the people involved, feel free to share that info with me. I don’t want to miss anyone. I hope they know how much it is appreciated. If you’d like to share your love for this place, add your commentary. Have suggestions for me? Bring ‘em.
PS – If you haven’t signed up to get my “Find the Good” blogging, you can still do so. Just click on Follow Bolton Carley’s blog up at the top on the right. Thanks to all of you who did that already. You have no idea how great it feels to get a follower.
As most of you know, I’m an Iowa girl and a hometown girl and an Oakland girl. I’ve never pleaded to be anything but. We moved home for lots of reasons, but it all comes down to the fact that this is where we belong.
With that being said, I am here and advocating for my home. One of my favorite things about Iowans is that they live the Tim McGraw Humble and Kind song to a tee. The unfortunate part about that is that people forget the amazing, wonderful assets around them and start to take them for granted.
We currently live in a world of negativity. I can be more negative than most, but I know it is my fatal flaw, and I do my best to correct it each and every day. But there are far more people out there looking at the bad and focusing on it, and I hate that for everyone. I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people who believe in good, do good, fight for the good, and find the good. I want to be one of those people, too. So I am bringing you the good. On a platter even.
This is the start of my Find the Good series. If you like it, go ahead and sign up to follow my blog over there on the right hand side, and I’ll send you a weekly reminder of what’s good around here. Or if you have suggestions, feel free to email me. Got a lot of great ideas right now, but who doesn’t want more?
This picture is why I love a small town. In the wake of an untimely and horrible death of a well-known man, people lined up to pay their respects. The lines were out into the street. Main Street was full of cars and trucks. Over a thousand people came to pay their tributes. That, my friends, is why you live here. Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing you belong and are appreciated. A well-attended funeral is a sign of a well-lived life…
So we are officially two weeks into living in our hometown again after 25 years in the ‘burbs. It’s kinda weird, but I’ve already realized a few of the reasons we are back on home turf, more than just raising our little girl in a small town and being close to the fam.
First off, I went to the locker in Hancock on Saturday, got me some dried beef and Colby cheese, drove back, went to Dollar General or “DG” as the locals call it lol, got my hooks to hold my hairdryer and was back home in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken me to even drive to Target, let alone shop and drive home! Oh, the efficiency! Yay!
Secondly, I’m outside Sunday trying to lasso my child back into the house when my former, I know better than to call her old, English teacher shows up at our door to welcome us home. Can I just mention how sweet that is? Now, I’m sure she has a few ulterior motives, but I’m game.
Third, a couple of nights ago, I had an actual conversation with my neighbors IN THEIR HOUSE! I have not hung out with neighbors just to shoot the sh** since I was in college. I feel like I should show up at their house with Domino’s pizza and Bahama Mama (if I could even find it) to celebrate!
Fourth, I went to pull out of my very soggy driveway yesterday morning and see a guy using a flashlight to look around on the ground in the cul de sac. No need to panic! As I suspected, he was simply gathering nightcrawlers! I love living in a place where people put a priority on fishing! Yes, ma’am.
Finally, I won some silent auction items at a Relay for Life event a couple of months ago in which I got babysitters for 3-hour blocks. I texted the first one this week to see if she might be available this weekend and she was! And she even sounded excited to babysit for us! Dude, if you have ever had a 2-year-old you know how damn happy that can make a person!
PS – we will be attending the Betterment Committee’s Murder Mystery Theater Saturday night if you’re interested, go here to buy tickets!
Seriously though, I will be honest and tell you that after it has rained every day for the entire time we have lived there and commuting, I was starting to have reservations… Starting to doubt my decision to load up and haul my hubby and baby out of the city. I may, or may not have, had a few meltdowns along the way, but I know in my heart, I was meant to be back home. Bon Jovi and I, we know these things. So here’s to my discovering even more great reasons to be home and here’s to all of you who continue to put up with me no matter where I live. Love you guys.
What great things have you realized once you moved? Or is there something you really love about small towns or the ‘burbs that you want to share? Are you mid-life-changes and got advice for me? Bring it on!
So, I have mentioned a few of the reasons why I will miss Bellevue, but I feel like that means I also need to say what I’m looking forward to in my hometown, AKA things other people take for granted when they live in a rural community!
I am looking forward to people waving at me, and not the only-the-middle-finger kind. Nothing makes me feel more like I’m in a small town than a jaunty wave from someone I may, or may not, know.
And with that sentiment, I also love knowing whose car is whose. Yes, you can call me a Nosy Nelly, but I like knowing who I’m meeting on the road and if I need to take the gravel so Old Man Klaus doesn’t hit me or if I should throw my head out the window like a sloppy-tongued dog to wave at my bro-in-law.
Speaking of, I’m kinda excited to be living next to my family again. I know I haven’t been that far away, but there’s a big difference between 5 minutes and 45 when you’re carrying a prime rib or a 2-year-old. I am looking forward to being able to run to my parents’ house to let Ellen play with the calves or read a book with grandma when I know that my husband is going to be late getting home. I also will be able to get my hair cut on a weeknight, and I’m hoping my other sister drops off dirt cake occasionally. Ha ha.
You can also laugh at me when I tell you I’m looking forward to moving home in hopes of having a few more friends. I have found that the ‘burbs are full of acquaintances, but, at least in my case (which maybe it’s just me, I’ve often suspected that, but my sweet husband promises me it is not the case), it has not been full of long-time-laugh-and-drink-daiquiris-while-our-kids-play kind of friendships. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been blessed with some incredible people in my life while I’ve been in Bellevue, and I plan to hold onto the ones I’ve got, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more and I’m kinda hoping for some couple friends. We clearly need to get out more! Lol.
Another small thing is that I’m ready to see sunsets and sunrises again, or for that matter, stars in the sky. We live in a very treed-in neighborhood and although I love the trees, I miss seeing the sky. You will probably notice a sudden and annoying increase in my scenic view pictures on Facebook. Lol.
I’m also ready for that sense of community that only comes from a rural town. I want to be a part of something. I always have. I like knowing everyone and since I don’t have a lot of skeletons in my closet for the gossips to parrot about, I feel pretty safe about my rumor mill status. I think they call it nonexistent.
And, finally, I may sound like a snob and I don’t really mean to be that because Nebraska has been good to me, but well, I’m excited to say I’m an Iowa girl again!
I could go well beyond that list, but seeing how I should be packing instead of blah, blah, blahing as my husband would say, I’ll just say this: bring on the pott co! Peace out, NE!
Oh, Monday, you’re an evil sort! Oh, how we hate to see you coming, but rule #1, friends make everything better. And girls, as you well know, you can’t go to the bathroom alone! You gotta love it when things are set up for you that way. lol.
So how do you make your Monday better? Well, they can’t fault you for having to take a little toilet break. No matter that it might be an hour long or there might be more giggling than peeing.
And if you dare to venture in alone, are you a creature of habit? Do you use the same one every time? Or do you check your options and decide based on tissue or toilet cleanliness? Hey, those are the real ponderings of a Monday morning.
So Happy Monday! May it be a little unique, a little fun, a little bit funny, and worthy of a texted toilet photo.
Do you watch The Voice or American Idol, or dare I say it, both? Do you set your DVR for Project Runway or The Amazing Race? Did you cry (or at least cheer) for Susan Lucci when she finally got her Daytime Emmy or for Peyton when he won his first Super Bowl?
My husband laughs at me, but I’m a sucker for an underdog winning, or for that matter, anyone deserving and humble winning. I know why I watch all those shows. I’m a cheerleader. (Okay, so none of us ever thought they’d see that day, did they?) No, I’m not going to look very good in one of those skirts or be able to control my pom-poms, but I like to see people win. I like to see people who are passionate about something get what they want if it’s for the right reasons. I want to see people be happy. I, myself, want to be happy. I know that a lot of us struggle to focus on the good stuff and remember to be happy (when the house is on fire, the kids need another ride to practice, or there’s a snake in your basement – just sayin’).
Last night, as I was watching The Voice finale, I realized I screwed up. Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of going to my hometown to watch the 2013 state qualifying boys’ basketball team (Riverside Bulldogs) take on the last b-ball team to qualify for state: the 1986 Oakland Yellow-Jackets (pre-consolidation of schools). It was a fundraiser and the vision of a 1986 player whose wife made it happen. I went for a few reasons. One: my brother-in-law was one of those 1986 players. Two: Sometimes, I like thinking about the old days (and whoever said you can’t go home again needs to listen a little closer to Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles). Three: curiosity. I wanted to see how it all would play out.
So what did I get wrong? I didn’t go and say thank you for my happiness. Yes, I posted my pictures on Facebook and made sure to note some thanks with those posts, but I didn’t go say it in person. After all these years, I was still too shy to think they knew who I was or cared who I was and that my opinion might matter to them. And who knows? Maybe they wouldn’t have known who I was or even cared, but I should have said thank you because for the last week I have been blabbing on about how cool it was to watch a bunch of guys with families, jobs, and a million other things to do reunite to raise money for a charity and hang out together on a basketball court again because it’s what they were really good at 27 years ago and because they had each other’s backs.
I listened to Mac (that’s how we all referred to him whether we knew him or not) talk about calling up his former teammates to play and saying he “needed” to play one last time with them. He said they each answered the call of duty. – I want that. I want that for myself and for all of you. I want something or someone to be so important that you can’t say no and I want you to shine when you answer the call. (I realize that sounds sappy, and I’m okay with that. Better take this rare greeting card moment from me and go with it.)
Twenty-seven years ago I went to every basketball game to watch a group of guys I hardly knew win and defeat the odds against them. Last week, I watched them do it again by 1 little point. Heart and passion should always triumph. And should we get a little sappy about that? Yes. Should we go home and admit we miss that home? Hell yes. Should we cheer for those around us to find happiness? Yes. Should we want to be asked to come back and share in it with them? Hell yes. Should we hope for more events like this? Hell to the Yeah! (Did I laugh at my brother-in-law who probably couldn’t get off the couch Monday morning? Well, of course, I did, but I also love that he did what he did.)
Will I always be cheering on the sidelines for someone singing, dancing, baking, showing cattle, or playing a sport? Hell yes. Why? It makes me happy. And if you’re looking to be happy, too, I recommend it as a pretty good place to start.
What’s your favorite Easter candy? I have a co-worker friend who ranks holidays by the candy attached to them. Have you ever pondered that? I hadn’t before she mentioned it. For me, Easter would rank first on that scale. What about you? She says Valentine’s Day and Halloween rank high and Christmas is in the mix, too. I’m still going with Easter!
After doing a little polling of the close friends, it is clear to me we are a nation of Reese’s eggs, Jelly Belly jelly beans, and Peeps! I’m all for the Reese’s as I’m sure you know, but Si Robertson can keep his Jelly Bellies and you all can keep those magical Peeps that they now sell for every freaking holiday to yourselves! Ick.
Me, I’m more of a Reese’s peanut butter egg-sour gummy bunny-Hershey’s eggs girl. No, not the individually wrapped Hershey chocolate eggs, the good ones that are candy-coated. They only make them at Easter, and I love them! Actually, I’m addicted to all 3 of those. Oh, and I sure don’t mind those Dove Easter eggs either. Yum! Mmm… no wonder my husband never has a problem finding me happiness this time of year!
But you know what I was just thinking about? I keep seeing all these pictures of friends taking their kids to Easter egg hunts, and it made me think of the annual Easter egg hunt that the Rainbow girls put on in Oakland. Oaklandites, do you remember that???
Every year, the football field was covered in color! And every year, I hoped I would find the magical plastic prize-winning eggs instead of those nasty marshmallow-flavored things. Actually, I’m not entirely sure they were marshmallow. Were they banana? Does anybody remember? All I know was that they were white on the inside, they tasted horrendous, and they used them because back then they were the only candy eggs you could buy individually wrapped. Oh, and I’m not bitter much that I never found one of the plastic eggs for the good prizes. Ha ha.
But maybe I just like Easter egg hunts more than most. My grandma used to hide these wax candle ducks for me year-round, and I thought it was the most fun ever. She left them for me when she passed away. I’m still a big fan of scavenger hunts, Easter egg hunts, treasure hunts, anything that involves looking for a win! Not a kid that can’t talk me into joining in on something like this because I remember being the youngest and everyone having to humor me with it. Now, it’s my turn. I don’t take that job lightly. Plus, it’s just freaking fun! I promise you I am going to put on my own Easter egg hunt someday in football field fashion. But don’t be surprised if the prizes are a little more of the adult variety! See, I’m all for children having fun, but I’m even more for adults having fun!
And with that said, Happy Easter, everybody!