As most of you know, we began our journey to North Carolina a week ago today...in a car...for 4 days! Yes, a 22 hour drive with two kids does sound crazy but what was crazy was flying with two of them and that luggage with NO help! So, we packed the car to the brim with everything we would NEED.
The girls and I drove two hours into Oklahoma City to pick up my mom. She flew in to drive with us....bless her heart. Let me tell you that that was a l.o.n.g two hours. They couldn't wait to get to her. They thought that was the end of our destination, because we were going to see Meme remember? So we arrive to get her but we weren't at her house? I think reality started settling in when we got back in the car, lunch in their laps, and we didn't stop for 4 more hours. Well, of course we stopped, you know, four girls, four small bladders. But, we made it to Clarksville, AR the first night. We got there earlier then expected so I found a park and it was a perfect night of play.
Our next destination was Nashville, TN. Not having been a stop on this drive before, I was excited for this one. Mostly because we planned a side trip to see where my mom was born. This was our longest day but the allure of a big city kept us pushing. WOW! What a great landing spot for us. We stayed walking distance to the stadium the Titans play in and what a sight that was! We spent the evening eating great food and walking down the streets filled with hopeful voices singing their favorite tune. My mom had a special stop for us to see this magnificent Nashville landmark. It didn't disappoint. And, can you believe Fancy was not on Auto? I am so proud when I can figure this out. I am trying to get braver and this paid off...no yellow lighting!
So, for years I have heard about where my mom was born. Her parents even grew up in Barron Plains, TN and apparently it got its' name honestly....so I had been told. I was anxious to see for myself. A short 30 minute drive North dumped us into Springfield, TN. We were almost there... A few turns and we were winding down quiet country roads that had the most beautifully erect red barn with a quilted pattern painted on the side. It was magnificent. Unfortunately there is no picture so you need your imagination. This is a place where some people wave and smile and the others stare because you don't belong there and they know it. You know those places right? I guess the car top carrier gave us away...
Our first stop would be the house her best friend grew up in...
Then we drove to the church she and my dad got married in. This was a stop for me. I think I yearn to have some of these images because I don't remember them ever together so this is something concrete I can hold onto. Although it is bricked now, it is there. Quaint and simple. Surrounded by beauty.
When Mom grew up here her school was on this land as well. Imagine, not a parochial school, but ten steps from a church. Would we see that today? They had a playground set, so this was the perfect stop for everyone to stretch their legs. But, we got so much more. I stood and tried to imagine my mother here. Living here. Playing here. It was hard I must say, mostly because our lives are so far from this today. The word that kept coming to me was simple. This was a simple way of life. Kids don't have high expectations, farming is the way of life, and God is at the center of it all. It was truly a breath of fresh air and my kids didn't have the first desire to leave, except for one potty break, of course. They didn't notice that the spinner that these kids had wasn't like the fancy one that sits in the plush playground at their church. It was just a spinny thing...with lots more character.
Then we met this beauty...
She wondered up and we made friends fast. The girls loved her and took a bazillion pictures with her. We named her Clarabelle. The highlight for me was when Olivia asked how I knew it was a girl dog...before I could answer my mom tells her, "You just look in her eyes, that 's how." I shoot my mom this look with this witty chuckle and she looks at me and says, "You got a better way to explain that to a 5 year old?" That is my mom. Farm girl and nurse extraordinaire and that is how she explains it. See...simple. She stuck with us like we were her owners so we left her with a gift. A flower necklace that my girls were shocked I made. Honestly, it was the first thing I wanted to do when I saw those
We drove just another minute down the road to her home place. What a magnificent home that generations have restored with great results. White back in the day...it looks rich now with the grey paint and that a/c was certainly not there. They just threw open the windows and let the breeze float in...back in the day.
After some barbecue that no Texan could appreciate like us, we had one more stop. The mill my mom's grandfather built as a young man. It still stands, works, and provides.
As we pulled away I thought a lot about this wonderful place filled with beauty and wonder and thought how nice life would be if it really was as simple as this all appeared to be.