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!
You know you’re from a small town when…
…there’s still a sign that says Miss America 1974 grew up here!
(Hancock, Rebecca Ann King)
… they call you by name at the Dairy Queen and Casey’s.
… the whole town shuts down for a funeral or state basketball.
… people can still tell you the names of every starter on the last state basketball team… which was 25 years ago. (Carley, McCowen, Thompson, Zuch, and Stogdill)
… they discuss all your high school games at the local Co-op…and you’re related to somebody who works at the Co-op. (Mark Martens)
And you know you’re from a small town when…
you make sure the AM radio station is coming in on your radio so you can “listen” to the “big” game.
And you know what? Riverside, my home town team made it to state this week which, quite frankly, is a huge ass deal in our world. So just like every other person who graduated from Oakland High School (or the consolidated Riverside High School), I will be listening to the big game. And you know the only people who won’t be listening to the big game at state? The people who are actually there, sitting in the stands, screaming their lungs out, cheering for the home town team. Because that’s how it works.
We’ve all heard the “You know you’re from a small town when…” jokes and we laugh because well, the obvious reason is, they’re true! But really, it’s because we know it’s something to be envied. Not everybody gets the luxury of growing up the way we did.
Small towns are just funny. The very things you hate about living in a small town are the very things you love about it: Everybody knows your business. Sure, it sucks when they gossip about your car wreck, but it’s really nice when they realize that’s not your car loading out furniture when they drive by your house. And there’s nothing better than when your kid makes the town proud by not only being a great kid, but being a basketball star, too.
And when people talk about all the scary stuff that happens in the world today, you don’t hear about a lot of small town shootings. Why? When you grow up in a hamlet that has less people in it than an Eric Church concert, there’s a sense of place. We all know where we came from. We can all say, “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y that’s our Alumni Battle-cry!” Yeah, that’s a cheer I learned over 30 years ago. I still know it. And I guarantee you that all of the people from my home town just laughed as they remembered it, too.
See, here’s the deal. This world is sometimes hard to understand, and it’s not an easy road, but no matter where you go, your small town goes with you. If I should ever win the lottery, become a successful writer, or get discovered by the RFD-TV station, I promise you I won’t tell them I live in Bellevue. I’ll tell them I’m from Oakland, Iowa. Because at the end of the day, you should never forget where you came from, and you damn well better give credit where credit is due. The best people I know came from a little town in the middle of nowhere because that’s where they learned work ethic, community pride, and the power of love thy neighbor.
So without being any more sappy, the bottom line is that once you’re a yellowjacket, you’re always a yellowjacket, or a bulldog, as the case may be. You can’t change it.
And honestly, you don’t want to…
P.S. – You know you’re from a small town when…you get this message passed onto you from your sister’s husband’s neighbor’s cousin who’s related to the writer.
Blah, blah, blah. I keep hearing people complain about the holidays. Well, pucker up, Buttercup and kiss my ass – less doggie jumpsuit (Can you even believe the stuff they have to dress up your pet???). The holidays are fabulous! Why? Well, right there was a perfect example, but if that’s not enough for ya, I‘ve got more!
10. For most everyone, it means at least a day or two off. Nothing says Christmas gift like not working! Woo-hoo!
9. Christmas music and bad singers. Yeah, you heard me. You’re either a lover or a hater. I’m a lover. A blizzard in Iowa? Hey, no worries. We can Mele Kalikimaka in the living room with Bing! And when that mom with 5 children flailing out of the shopping cart strolls by off-key and screwing up the words, I just can’t blame her. It’s probably that or her sanity. And don’t forget Christmas caroling – big fan, even though I sound like a cat caught in a car door!
8. Fudge. Need I say more? Well, unless it’s peanut butter fudge, hot chocolate cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzels… Seriously? How can that NOT make you love the holidays?
7. Bitchy people. I know. I know. But nothing brings out my warm tidings and season’s greetings like cranky ass people. It always makes me have the sudden urge to hand out beer and chocolate to people in need. Consider it my Hallmark Maxine moments.
6. Ugly Christmas sweater sightings. The best part about ugly Christmas sweaters is that you get to decide if they are wearing it to be ironic or wearing it because they don’t know any better. You can’t not have a good time sneaking pics of sequined poinsettia and cardinal sweaters and texting them to your best friend.
5. Church. Okay, call me sentimental, I know this is meant to be a funny blog, but I love Christmas eve services with mood lighting, twinkling lights, the nativity scene, and the bells at midnight (or 10pm because the blue hairs run the church – lol).
4. Christmas letters. I enjoy every last one of them right down to the bragging about their dog’s ability to wipe their kid’s butt because they’ve trained it so well. Go ahead and put it out there. I’ll read it. I’m good with having superhuman friends. You might come in handy someday!
3. The build-up. Who doesn’t love foreplay? The advent calendars, the Christmas parties, decorating the tree, making the Christmas cookies, shopping, Christmas tree light glow in the middle of the night…
2. Family bonding. What’s better than sibling bickering, warring card games, heavy drinking, and naps on the couch?
And finally, you gotta love…
- Santa Claus. Yes, people, let us celebrate when a man is encouraged to be fat and jolly and show up with gifts. I’m all for a man who’s big on gift-giving. You gotta love that.
Got some more reasons? Share in the comments below. Need a lot more reasons to try to get you in the holiday spirit? Then come on over and join all the people doing the Yo Ho Ho I LOVE Christmas Cheer-a-thon: http://www.facebook.com/events/339499016157550/. I promise it will bring you a smile or two! And if not, guess you can give all of us the big ole flip-off. Lol.