Friday, September 2, 2016

Smiles and tears and hellos and goodbyes.

Once it was summer and I was seventeen years old.

Once we were wild and crazy. We piled bikes in the back of my daddy's red Ford truck and piled ourselves up front, ate ice cream bars, rolled the windows down and turned the music up loud.

The rodeo happened. Everybody for miles around put on their cowboy boots and hopped in their trucks (or their dorky Volvo, if your name is Anderson) and drove out to Rodeo City to sit on the bleachers under the lights and watch history being made in all its dust and glory. My sisters and I sat on those bleachers three times, cheering and screaming with the rest of the working-class America, going wild when the cowboy stayed on that bull for eight seconds, laughing with our cousins, enjoying the simple wonder of being a live on a starry August night.

The county fair happened. Some guy named Dustin Lynch took the stage and rocked it, with his cowboy hat and his white teeth, so shiny you could see them gleam all the way up in the grandstand. The girls left their seats and scurried down closer to get a better look, swooning when he sang 'Cowboys and Angels', laughing and singing along when he broke into 'I've Got Friends in Low Places' (even though the only words they knew were from the Tim Hawkins parody). I was one of those girls; we stood between the grandstand and the preferred seating, as far as we could go without being stopped by security (or until we were stopped by security) and danced like crazy girls while people walked by and spilled beer on us, but we didn't care because it was a hot summer night and the music was good and it was the time to let loose and be wild.

Once we went to the fair again and saw HUNTER HAYES. The sky burned pink and the fair lights glittered and he stood up on that stage with his blue guitar and he smiled that smile and sang all those songs I love so much and made us all feel like we'd been friends all our lives. He made us feel wanted. When he went over to the piano and sat down and started playing 'Invisible', I lost it all and started crying right there. I screamed and jumped up and down and sang along loud as I could and tried to snapshot the entire night in my mind, so I'd never forget one bit of it. I never will.

Once the six cousins climbed in the big red diesel and drove and hour to see Lee Brice. (Seriously, Dustin Lynch? Who is that guy?) We sat on the bleachers, all in a line, and proved that it is possible to dance just as crazy as the people down front when you're sitting way back in the grandstand and you're not drinking alcohol. He played 'Drinking Class' and we screamed. He sang 'I Don't Dance' and we wandered closer, to get a better look, and my cousin danced with me, and there was not one person there more drunk on love and happiness than I was.

Once I lost a bunny; once a kind person brought me two more to make me feel better. (I'll love him forever.) Once I let someone read my novel, and glory be she actually enjoyed it. Once I started writing a story that held all my sorrows and joys pent-up over the last year, my silly quirks and fond memories. I didn't finish it but I'm going to.

Once I mooned over Ram trucks. Once I rode the biggest ferris wheel I've ever seen in my life and didn't get scared. Once I started to not be afraid of waiting on customers anymore, and once I sold a lady a quart of nectarines for the price of a pint of plums.

Friends, this has been one heck of a summer. I've written it all down in long rambling journal entries, all of the inconsequential and maybe petty but so important things of my little seventeen-year-old life. Stupid things. Beautiful things. But they're what made my summer wonderful. All the late nights and early mornings and loud trucks and zinnias and bushels of beans, smiles and tears, hellos and goodbyes.

I learned some things this summer, thank goodness. I learned to let go of some things and hold tighter to others. I learned that when you're parking your dad's truck you should never underestimate the distance between the end of the gravel and the ditch beyond....I learned that I'm the most fickle person I know, and I learned that while there are nasty people in the world, there are still so many good ones and a bunch of those live right in my neighborhood. I learned that getting gas at the gas station is not actually that scary! Yay! Oh yeah, and I learned that if you pay for the gas, it gives you the right to take your parents' car on a long detour on a dirt road....but when you come home, you can't pretend you didn't, because the car's gonna be all dusty and everyone will know what you've been doing. Can't hide it.

I also learned that it's time for me to move on, in a lot of ways. I've gotta grow up sometime. I'll always have one foot stuck over in childhood, I think....but I'm not the same girl I used to be. I'm not the same girl I was when I started this blog three years ago. I'm learning to love that girl (even though she could be an idiot sometimes) but I don't want to go back. It's taken a long time for me to say that -- believe me. But I'm finally ready to put some things behind me and go forward with a smile on my face.

The other night my cousin left for college. We told him to drive by our farm on his way, and parked all our vehicles up close to the road with the lights on bright and we climbed up on the hoods and sat there and waited for him to drive by. When he did we waved our arms and cheered. I cried, because I love my cousin and I hate goodbyes.

When people ask me why I haven't been posting much this summer I've been saying it's because I'm "low on inspiration", but I realized I shouldn't be saying that because it's really not true. Inspiration is bursting my seams. I'm drowning in it. It's not inspiration that's the problem, it's me. My inspiration is running in different directions now. I don't have it in me to keep on with things here. This will be the last post on this blog, friends. For awhile at least. Maybe not forever. I can't say right now. I don't want this to be goodbye -- only see you later.

I wouldn't be here writing this if it weren't for you all. Writing my thoughts here has been SO much fun over the years, and I thank you all sincerely for joining the ride! I'll always keep these times in my heart. These were good times. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

photo credit: Molly
I hope y'all had a wonderful summer. :-) Till next time, friends.
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