Wednesday, June 25, 2014

White Lightning

It's late in Colorado and the Miller Moth migration is in full swing, in our living room.  Samantha and Tim both take advantage of the late hour by cat-napping before bed.  One of them mewls like a real kitten - can you guess which one?  Tim asked that we close the front door as no self-respecting Midwesterner would be caught dead resting on purpose (although he made the crucial misstep of marrying someone so delighted by this fact she records it every chance she gets).

My mom left this morning, returning home after her second tour of Sam Duty.  What can I say - the house is empty and the hours are less fun.  This child-rearing is lonely business some days, but we have more visitors arriving tomorrow.  Hallelujah.  We also spent a week at the beach and I brought Sam to my parents' house for a little fellowship, sleep, and my debut binge on Lonesome Dove. 

Needless to say, among summer fruits and the porch swing, I've got the South on my mind.

I used to store a jar full of water on my desk at work to water plants.  A few times a month someone - usually a man - would joke that I kep a jar of white lightning with me at all times.  I loved these moments, not just because someone really thought a spaghetti sauce jar looked like a Mason jar but also for the peek into these people's psychology and the culture from which they obviously hailed.  While many co-workers were curious about the jar, only people raised in rural environments made the leap to white lightning.  I loved knowing that we came from similar places, that behind our stratified business personae lay childhoods where people farmed or hunted, where tables were set with biscuits or sweet tea, and where everyone knew someone with a mean stash of hooch.

Lest I give the wrong impression, my family attended Presbyterian services and redneck ways were hard to come by in Connecticut, where I grew up.  But my family is unmistakably Southern and the Carolinas are, for me, some Garden from which I left as a child.  My fondness for them is obnoxious, I realize, though I have not lived there for years. 

Maybe I will have occasion to live and work there again sometime.  In the meantime, people who bring me quail feathers from weekend hunts and co-workers who believe my plant water is moonshine light my way home.

I resigned from my completely excellent job to take care of Samantha and I miss my friends at work.  My grandmother worked in an office for most of her career and still gathers with people she worked with - she just turned 90.  I totally get it.  I want to be in touch with these people forever. 

The older I get, the more I realize the best parts of life are the people in it.  Tonight I feel lucky just to be here, broken in the best way, wonder the only available prayer.