*Eleanor - I think you might should reconsider your honorary high school title!
I’m from jelly glasses full of tea and melted ice. I’m from coca-cola glazed ham and jello mold with canned fruit trapped in it like inclusions in amber. I’m from casseroles on the doorstep when anybody was born or died. From ash thick on everything when they burned the sugar cane, and from how sweet anything tastes from the field.
I’m from the warm dust of the road between your bare toes. I’m from giant red ants and the horned toads that stalked them, from warm, wild mulberries and the glory of blackberries dull and inky under a protective layer of grey dust. I’m from mudpies, and drawing on the driveway with caliche rocks.
I’m from enchiladas. From wolf-brand chile with saltine crackers. From a small town where you existed only in relation to the stories that clung to you like sweat.
I’m from eccentric southern stock. I’m from people who couldn’t get along in the tangled, crowded cities and didn’t like the cold. From people too expansive for row houses. From people of the big gesture and the small heart; clever, cold-eyed people with sharp tongues and fierce tempers. From a society with more strata than a wedding cake.
And oh Lord, am I from bugs. From mosquitos the size of helicopters and twice as loud. From giant, black woodboring bees, droning and chewing through the shed on summer days. From fireflies so thick it looked as though the stars had grown weary and come down for a rest on the lawn. And from roaches so big, my more educated college friends thought I must be lying. I wish I had been lying.
I am from the claustrophobic care of small-town south Texas. >From people for whom stubborn was a survival tactic and fierce was a virtue. From robber barons with good business sense and artisans with none. From a love that branded you through with disappointment and expectation in one searing look. From the deepest heat there is, where the wind never stops blowing but nothing ever cools off. I am from a cotillion where learning to curtsy to the floor, learning to balance your plate and punch cup perfectly on one gloved hand, and knowing just how much exposed décolletage is too much, were critical skills.
I am from where the smell of the river, running so cold against the hot rocks, seemed like salvation itself in August. Where you could skinny dip fearlessly, safe in the knowledge that the next neighbor was 19,000 acres up the road. I am from six packs tied to fishing line in the river, and the church key grown into the cypress tree to which the beer was anchored. I am from the clean snap of watermelon in the igloo cooler and the ripe indulgence of Strawberry Crush. I’m from the smell of cedar posts, and from Mama picking off ticks we got in the hay barn. I’m from standing on the wall with my plastic cup while the fashionable city girls danced at the summer camp social.
I’m from nowhere. Somewhere a piece south of nowhere, actually. And now they built a subdivision over it.
I especially loved this passage:
From people of the big gesture and the small heart; clever, cold-eyed people with sharp tongues and fierce tempers. From a society with more strata than a wedding cake.
Anyone else up for a story?