Monday, February 22, 2010

I get the little blue car in the game of Life.

I spent a portion last week travelling out of state for the funeral of a girl I grew up with, the older sister of my best friend and then next door neighbor.

She was 37 years old. There won't be a clear explanation to her death for another four weeks.

I spent my life at their farm until I was 11 years old. That's when I moved away and kept my best friend by phone until I could drive. My childhood was spent throwing manure in every form at each other at every opportunity, because throwing manure at one another was free and fun. We threw eggs too, fresh and rotten, because they had free range chickens before they were politically correct. We threw potatoes at each other when it was potato digging time which broke up the monotony of acres of such dirty work.

We tied each other up with bailing twine. We built clubhouses out of a stack of odd sized 2x4s and mud...mixed with more manure of course. One year we even fashioned a toilet and sink with running water. We played a sorry version of softball with whatever implements would serve as bat and ball. We soaked for hours in an irrigation ditch. We got the hell bit out of us by mosquitoes moving sprinkler pipe. We caught toads and tortured tomato worms. We chewed on fresh asparagus and rhubarb, pulled carrots right out of the ground in the garden.

In our cleaner moments we'd play with Barbie dolls under the lilac or sour cherry trees. Every single one of them dated my permanently castrated Michael Jackson doll. So much cooler than having a mud bath with Ken.

The old town has changed. Would it be snobby of me to declare that I once lived in the largest house in a rural town with far more cows than people? I did. Six bedrooms. Three and a half baths. A cellar room just to store potatoes in. The first thing I see when driving in last week was a McMansion in a collection of other newly built McMansions with a barn nearby that a horse wouldn't dare poop in. My old house was dwarfed by not only new consumerism but a large aluminum shed twice as tall and wide as the house in the first place, directly off the back door. They painted the front door an ugly black. I felt violated.

The playground equipment I used to scrape my knees on at the nearby park and rodeo grounds looks shabby, replaced by a series of safety enhanced brightly colored modern plastic tubes, ladders and swings. The tiny corner store, where I could get tootsie pops for a nickel, has long been mowed down. The spanish olive tree at the back of our alfalfa field is gone. My fourth grade teacher wears hearing aids and uses a cane.

True to form though, there was no cell phone service. The town is still that little. There are still plenty of cows. The smell is the same.

I sat for the funeral in the chapel of the church, in a new pantsuit that I swore I'd never own, aware that I had grey hairs showing and emerging crow's feet, and knew that there would never be an existence like the one I had ever again.

It was years of golden moments. Rotten egg splattered wonderful moments.

Ironically, my own Dad is feeling much the same way. Only a short time prior to the death of my friend a childhood friend of his passed away just as suddenly in an accident. His moments can't be shared anymore. Only remembered. My Dad is taking the time now to write down the moments so we can have a glimpse because they will never exist again.

It was my Dad returning to the existence he grew up with when we moved when I was 11.

I don't want to return to my old town though. Seeing the changes is enough.

I'll just write my moments down. I'll blog about it. We can all have a glimpse.

4 comments:

  1. Such evocative post!

    I had a similar childhood and like you, I went back once and decided not to go back again. I treasure my memories and they will never leave me. I too should write my moments.

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  2. Aaaahhhhh, u can never go home again but hopefully u found some manure and gave it a good toss in honour of your friend.

    Erf

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  3. I'm so sorry for your loss :(

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