Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On going and coming home again

     Last night there was a super moon -- the closest the moon's been to the earth in sixty-eight years and will be for a long time, they say, so we observed by building a big fire and burning all the cardboard boxes left over from the stand. Then we howled at the moon, just a little, because it seemed like the right thing to do.

     A few days ago I got on a plane and flew for the first time in my young life. I thought I'd be scared out of my wits and my plane would be late and I'd get lost and probably be kidnapped or something equally horrible. Turns out the only thing I have to worry about is my imagination, because it wasn't really scary. What it was was incredible. From the moment we took off till we landed again I couldn't stop staring out the window, wondering how this was possible, what those towns down there were, how anybody could tell where they were going without road signs but marveling that there are people who can. The day was cloudy and gray when we took off, but we rose higher and higher until the plane burst through the layer of clouds and then suddenly everything was bright, and the moon was so close I could've reached for it, and the clouds looked like fluffy white hills, like in that Barbie movie my sister and I used to watch over and over. I guess everybody else on my flight had done it a million times, because they all dozed off or scrolled through their phones. But I'm from Stillwater and it was a pure miracle.

     Landing in Indiana, I spent the weekend with a very special girl to celebrate her birthday...we went to Barnes & Noble (and I succeeded in NOT spending all the money in my wallet, which proves there's always a first for everything) and her first country concert, and I got to meet her folks and get to know her better and it was a huge honor. It takes awhile to process, so many new things happening in just a few days -- flying, meeting people, eating squid, learning more about how to be a friend.

     Sometimes it's hard to know who you are in a place you've never been to before, without the people you've known all your life. I like to think I'm a strong personality and I can hold my own anywhere. I think that, and then I'm thrown into a new situation, where my folks aren't with me and everything is different and I can't really remember who the ball cap-wearing, cider-drinking, sarcastic, flippant Emma is or how to be her. It's not a bad thing, really, because you learn, and it's exciting. But it stretches you, at least it stretches me, and it's not the easiest thing in the world.

     Here's the easiest thing in the world. When you get off your plane and walk out to the main terminal and see your mama and your sister, and hug them and tell them all about it while you go back to your car and then talk and laugh all the way back, knowing that you're going home.

     Friends are gifts, all of them, and each one the Lord sends your way for an important reason. But there's nothing like your family for feeling at ease, or for making stupid puns, or speaking your mind, or asking hard questions. When you come home to your family, you let down all your walls and everything they keep in and nothing, not a thing, has ever been as natural or as right.

     At least, this is how I felt yesterday. I'd only gotten three hours of sleep so basically everything anyone said was funny and I was probably acting halfway inebriated all the way home from the airport but with Mama and Sadie, it doesn't matter. Here's to the mothers and sisters and fathers, and brothers if you have them, who don't care if you're an idiot and if your laugh sounds like Fleischmann's old girlfriend on Northern Exposure and love you because you're one of their own.

     "Why do you go away? So you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."     ~ Terry Pratchett

     Many, many thanks to A and her family for letting me be one of them for a few days, and to Nanoo for thinking I was pretty enough and interesting enough to possibly have a boyfriend somewhere. ;-)


Monday, November 7, 2016

November Days


     Have I mentioned how I love November?

     The summer months kind of blend together in one big long stretch of work and play and non-stop action, and then comes along November -- that bronze, dignified month that brings rest and cold and envelopes you like a big warm fuzzy blanket.

     We often get Indian Summer days in November, like this one; I was riding my bike in just a thin shirt, no jacket. Last year I was barefoot at this time. It's like one last taste of freedom before a cold front sets in and drives us inside.

    Speaking of driving (well not really)....Last month I bought a truck.


There it is!

     It's the smallest truck you ever saw. It's twenty-seven years old and it was originally owned by an old man in Virginia, so I'm calling it the Virginian. (Which is a good book, by the way.) My dad and I found it almost on accident and the way it worked out was super unexpected, but it's a good little truck and so far it's served me well. It's an '89, so it's a stick-shift, and I'll tell you -- learning to drive stick was the hardest thing I've tried in a long time. I don't even know why it was so hard; but I think it was because everyone told me it would be easy and then it wasn't, and when I couldn't do it right off my pride was just about crushed and I didn't even feel like trying. 

     One night I was trying to get the hang of starting and stopping it in our driveway and I kept stalling it, so I just gave up and laid down on the seat and cried. That night I felt worse about myself than I have in a while. That's how I am, I'm noticing more and more -- when I can't get something right off I get so frustrated I can't even think straight. It's pride, I know, and it's bad. This little truck crushed my pride. But my teachers were patient. And then I turned the key again and tried once more, and it got better. And you know what? They were right. I did get the hang of it. And when I drove it to my grandparent's house Hallowe'en night, I had hope again; and the other night when Sadie and I rolled into the rodeo hall parking lot going to a dance in our little red Ranger, I felt so proud, a wholesome kind of proud, and it was all worth it. That darn little truck.

     Owning a vehicle makes me feel more like an adult than maybe anything has before. I'm surprised how much I like it. :-)

     ...Not that I'm too adult yet. I spent most of Saturday sitting around talking about movies and I still sing Veggie Tales songs and the other night I played a human version of PacMan, so we've still got a ways to go.

    What do you love about November?
    Do you drive a stick-shift?