Life on the X-Bar Ranch...

I am an ordinary woman, with an amazing family, serving an awesome God.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where Did You Grow Up?

I had the unusual blessing of a Dad who moved around alot. Like, a LOT.
By the time I was married, I had lived in approx. 30 houses in 7 states. And that's not counting the states and houses we lived in during seasonal work. Like Washington, where we joined a  group of gypsies and picked cherries and wildflowers. Or Utah, where we put cages in commercial chicken houses and worked with Mormons. Or even Oregon, where we worked during the harvest in the Willamette valley.
It wasn't all roses, mind you. Actually, most of it I disliked. But there was good in most of it. Of course, the interesting aspect I mainly came to understand when I got older. When I was at home, it was normal - but not exciting. I did always have a tinge of pity for my friends who had never been more than one or two places in their lives, though. It seemed like they were missing out on something. Even if I hated Iowa's winters - at least I could say I'd been there. And even if the gypsies were a bit strange - they were definitely interesting. And so what if it gets dark in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho at 4 pm in the winter?? they have the most beautiful country in the world!
My parents lived the longest stretch at a time in Illinois, when I was a kid. Hence, I often say I am from Illinois. Cause its easy. I mean, what am I supposed to say when someone asks me where I'm from?  I guess I could take turns with all the states... Idaho one day, Missouri the next, and then throw in Florida and PA just for some interest.  I used to try to explain it. Now I try to avoid it, and just say: "I was living in Illinois when I got married", that usually suffices. Unless its someone who likes genealogy. Then I get - "Oh, are all your relatives from there?"  sigh. "No, its just the place where I spent the longest stretch of time - 4 whole years, once."
I know.
I am #6 in a family with 8 kids. (bet you didn't know that!) So the earlier kids lived some places that I didn't. Such as Ohio. I never regretted that too much. O. seemed kinda boring. But then, so was Illinois. And Iowa. And Oklahoma.
My favorite state, hands down, is Florida. I have most of my best childhood memories there, and the weather was always perfect. HOT. Mmmmm. Love me some sunshine!  And who doesn't like sandy beaches, picnics at the beach, boating, fishing, and watching alligators? We lived on Florida's west coast - so we didn't get hurricanes - just tornadoes.My dad and brothers worked at the local orange grove, where they packaged citrus fruit in swanky gift boxes and sent it all over the US. They also made the bestest fresh orange ice cream you ever did have. My dad loved the warm sunshine, and so we went either boating, fishing, or picnicking almost every week. Sometimes multiple times per week. Of course, there was lots of biking, lots of sand volleyball, and did I say picnics? I haven't been to Florida for 11 long years. I currently am dreaming of the day we can make it down for a visit.  I know my kids would love it.
I should quit talking of Florida...its making me even colder than I already am. I now live in my second favorite state, and it is a measly 48 degrees, on June 21st, which the calendar says is the First Day Of Summer. I want to live where Every Day Is Summer.
Yes - my second favorite state is Wyoming. The state where a bucking cowboy is the state symbol. A state which is nearly a polar opposite from Florida. A state I love for two reasons:
1. Cowboys.
2. Cowgirls.
OK, the scenery is pretty great too - when you can catch a glimpse of it through the blizzard. :)
But I have learned to love and appreciate the True Grit that these ranchers and their ranch hands have. The strength and fortitude and their simple, easy way of living and looking at life. And the community. Ranch community is the best I have ever experienced.
And why am i getting into all this fragmented rambling?? I guess cause I am deep in the middle of packing for yet another move. It reminds me of allll the times I have moved in my life. I was wondering - in 30+ moves, how many glass jars have i wrapped in newspaper? How many clothes have I folded and put in a cardboard box? how many.... OK, no need to elaborate on the boring process. Anyways, my "moving" stack is currently smaller than the "toss" stack, so that is encouraging. Maybe I am learning to let go of things.
And so - I need to get back to work. Back to my cardboard boxes and my memories. Meanwhile, could someone tell WY that it is summer? Thanks.

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