Family Matters.

Tonight I picked up some random book, The Konkans in the new fiction section of the Fond du Lac library and dove in for a bit of light reading. At one point two Indian brothers, newly arrived in the United States, make an observation about the familial difference between the US and India, saying "Family here is just one man and his wife. No brothers, no cousins, no uncles and aunties and uncles' aunties and aunties' uncles. A place without uncles. Can you imagine? Life is lonely here."

Is it?

I wish I could be completely alone for days or weeks or months at this point. Let us laugh at our current living conditions: a conference room at the county fair grounds, where 10 people have their food, bedroom, and living room all in a cinder block 35' by 25' space. It's not easy to be alone here, although lonely I have sometimes felt.

At home in Utah it's hard to feel lonely. Going home every Sunday was my chance to have what those two brothers did not get to see upon their arrival: large family dinners; cake and ice cream night at grandma's; reunions; homecomings and farewells; and cousins, aunts and uncles all living within a couple miles of each other. When I was growing up I felt smothered by my relatives, completely surrounded, and I suppose I would still feel that way if I spent any significant time in the small town of my birth. Luckily for me, and them, absence has made the heart grow fonder and I really appreciate the many days spent in each others' company.

Baking cakes with Liz for Camilla's acceptance into the cheer squad. Silly home videos of make-up saleswomen, and our Chinese TV cooking show. Sleepover on the front stairs. Conversations about womanhood and childbirth. Sledding. Jogging up and down the hill. Splitting in the middle of the lane, running, crying and singing primary songs all the way home at 2 am. Steal-away vacations to the desert and limitless support. Help getting me to college in Utah when plans for Virginia failed. Hand-me-down bicycles, clothing, and memories. Babysitting and birthday parties. Bike rides up the canal road.

Putting up corn every year. Picking grandma's strawberries and stealing ice cream sandwiches when she wasn't home. Sneaking in after she went to bed, eating laffy taffy and hiding the wrappers beneath the couch cushions. Grandma getting worked up for the Jazz games. Grandpa, his talks about Washakie and the Timbimboo family. And of course, Old Ephraim. Fresh bread, valentine cookies, and the best tomatoes. Thanksgiving. Christmas. So much food.

Jamming the swather with fresh-cut alfalfa hay. Losing the four-wheeler from the trailer after Josh & I did a bang up job strapping it down. Driving with 13 gears. Spending 13 hours on a horse to gather cattle from the mountain. Flood irrigation: shoveling and siphon tubes. Dry farm out West, camping in Soda Springs, and the goldfish in the water tank in Plymouth. Burning ditch banks. Cow shit in my mouth and being tossed onto a fence by a mean heifer. Fox, deer, coyote, raccoon, skunk. Shorty, the horse, giving me a wild ride after bringing him in off pasture, and Tyson telling me to hold on tight and pull back the reigns. Spiders in the scales. The smell of burning flesh and hair after branding, and the smell of grease, diesel and sweat in the shop.

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Home, sweet home.

Comments

  1. You were one excellent makeup salesmen!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE your memories! I remember you guys sleeping on the stairs. You're a doll, Mandy.
    Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW. You have so many memories of home. I think I might make a list of my own. I love ya sista!

    ReplyDelete

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