25 October 2009

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

I'm sitting up in bed, laptop up and running, Lucy between my legs beneath the covers sleeping. Workaholic Sara Jean scheduled three houses to clean today (Sunday, for heaven's sakes!), and was up and out the door before I woke. Before leaving she brewed a pot and filled the thermos for me...
That thermos and my tall coffee mug were bedside when I woke. I poured myself a cup before firing up the computer.
Life is good, thank you Lord.

Do you travel a lot? We're traveling more now than ever. We go South to Destin as often as possible, (not nearly as often as I would like). We make it back to Indy two or three times a year for get-togethers with old High School classmate friends... these relationships now stronger than they were so many years ago thanks to re-connecting via the internet. I frequently have business in California that requires me to fly there. And now we're getting more familiar with the Phoenix area because Big Bubba lives 15 minutes from the airport in Mesa, Arizona.

Like John Mellencamp, "I grew up in a small town", and my small town was not all that far from Mellencamp's small town. But mine was a short drive from a medium-size town... Indianapolis, Indiana. My town was rural, farmland all around. But drive 15 minutes North and most of the benefits and temptations of big towns were available. So I was aware, sort of, but the foundation laid by my parents kept me out of most trouble. Growing up where I did was a great education unto itself. But that was my nest... my comfort zone.
I didn't leave what is identified on a map as "Indiana" until I was 13 or so, and that was just a foray across the State line into exotic Louisville, Ky. A family trip driving Westward across the nation to California when I was 15 opened my eyes to how much country there is in our nation...
Another great bit of education. I was homesick from the time we left until I was once again petting the Labrador we left in our neighbor's care.

I moved to the town where we now reside in 1980 because a Nurse friend and her Doctor husband owned a JetRanger and needed a Chief Pilot, and I needed a job. But a factor in that move was that I was tired of living in a big town...
Traffic, noise, smells, traffic, crime, rush-rush-rush, population density, traffic...
I wanted to take a deep breath and lower my heart rate.
I've now lived here longer than I've lived anywhere else. It's not perfect, but moving here was a good decision... I met Sara Jean here and raised my boy in an area where I had much more control over the things he could be exposed to. (And "the proof is in the pudding!")

Phoenix is exotic and interesting. Tall beautiful cacti, mountains in the distance, and an absolutely clear blue sky most of the time. It's a short drive from Phoenix to lots of wonderful things to see.
But it's a big town with all the problems associated with big towns... and more.
There is a disconcerting attitude there. Lots and lots of folks speaking Spanish around you. And we've had at least two experiences where someone we approached didn't speak English at all, and had "attitude" about the fact we expected them to be able to communicate with us. (These folks were in retail outlets!)
Phoenix is now the #2 kidnap city in the world, following Mexico City. In a previous post I showed you the "Bait car" warning signs that you see frequently in Big Bubba's neighborhood...
A constant reminder to not leave your car unlocked... don't leave valuables in your car, even out-of-sight in the trunk!

So we're back in our little town. My heartrate is back to about a beat a second.
No cactus... The grass is out of control because it's been raining most of the time we've been gone, so skies have been gray.
But we're here 'cause we want to be here. Are we "Hicks" because we're comfortable with this lifestyle? Obviously I can't be objective about that, but probably.
Experiencing Phoenix, and the drive over to L.A. to spend a few days was wonderful.
Being back in "dullsville" is pretty boring...
"Boring" is wonderful too.


Rita said...

You know GB, the older I get, the more I appreciate growing up in our little community and living on the side of "town" that is NOT growing out of control.

When I go back to our old hometown, I am shocked at how busy it is. While I would appreciate having everything within a few feet of my door, I sure wouldn't want the "busyness" on a day to day basis. I get that enough by driving to the "big city" for work.

You can call me a proud hick now.

cary said...

The thing is, I envy you so much for your ability to have that lifestyle.

If I had a more adventurous wife (her being so grounded is part of her attraction for me, in a sort of twisted-logical way) I would strike out and try homesteading somewhere where they have four seasons (instead of three - hot, billy-blue-blazing-hot, and perfect). As it is, I've cast my lot and here I sit in the desert trying to eke out a living with something that needs to be imported int he first place - wood!

Greybeard said...

Okay Rita... You're a proud hick!!

So, friend Cary, are you saying your wife has veto power over your desires?
Should I run some traffic your way by commenting how ironic that is, considering the question you have on the table at "The 'O' Word"?
(And I risk looking like a wuss for the answer I left there a few hours ago!)

cary said...

As long as she is bringing in the primary income, and it is a source that can't be moved with her, then yes, she has veto power over my desires. But truly, now that I've been here so long (like you, I've been in this house longer than any other home I've ever lived in) I have a large and diverse "tribe" that I really would rather not leave, and as long as certain members of the extended "tribe" (a-HEM) continue to come by this place, I'm going to try to keep making this work.

CJ said...

I'm not a hick but I am a proud "Yooper" - born and bred in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The town where I live has about 15,000 people and I feel crowded at times.

A former student officer for my department works for Phoenix PD and I find myself worrying about her. Not a nice city at all.

Glad you made it home safely.