I’ve been in Siskiyou County, California, the place I was raised, for a full week. I’ll be relieved to go back to work in Elko so I can get some rest! I have the most wonderful non-problem: tons of people to visit.
In high school, I was rather nomadic, acquiring several “second families” around the county. Now, I walk through front doors without knocking, raid the fridge, load the dishwasher, and plop down on the couch to watch whatever’s on with whomever’s holding the remote. At Susan’s we drink wine; at Mary Ann’s we play cards and feed the bummer calf; at Bill’s I study his Las Cruces bit designs; at the Dowlings’ we listen to Smokey play the guitar and we all sing along to “Smoke Rings In The Dark.”
My cousins and I got together for hamburgers and fruit salad last night, and the five of us grown-ups solved all our family problems. The five little kids ran around with walkie-talkies and princess tiaras, and I learned there’s another one due in April. The girls are in 4-H, where they’re learning how to sew, make jewelry, and shoot firearms. Good girls 🙂
We managed to assemble five of us who’ve gone to school together since fourth grade at a pizza parlor one night. It was fun to catch up and see who grew up. Most of us seem to have escaped that fate so far.
I visited Don Brown, seventy-five-year-old cowboy/cowboss-turned-braider slash coolest person I know, a couple times. I made him peanut butter pies and German chocolate cake, and he taught me a few knots last winter. When I called in despair with difficulties over the one-strand long button, he asked me “Now, how much of all this trouble you’re having do you think is because you’re a girl?” Don’s always good for stories about riding bareback horses in the ’60s and cowboying at various outfits. He helped me with my horsemanship, warned me about men (they’re all terrible and I shouldn’t associate with them), and encouraged me to ride colts in Idaho and cowboy in Nevada because “you never know until you go.” This visit, he told me he was proud of me.
My far-flung adventures are wonderful, but it’s so nice to get all filled up with a big dose of hometown-ness. Comforting to be around folks who knew me when I wasn’t yet born, who encouraged me to go to college, to write, to ride, to go to church. Now I’m prepared for another year of out-there-ness, taking the best of my hometown with me.