Wednesday, September 24, 2014

To all you other country kids

Today I walked into class and as I sat down, the girl that I sit next to said, "That camo hat makes you look intimidating."
I'll come back to that.
My writing professor is the kind of lady that I wish I didn't know. The first essay we were told to write was supposed to be about a defining moment. Something that we do or something that happened in our life that makes us who we are. Right off we were told we couldn't write about our faith or sports. Coming to know Jesus is the biggest defining moment in my life and my faith in Him makes me who I am, but that was tossed out the window. Sports. I have been playing sports since I was 4 years old. I have played basketball, volleyball, tennis, softball, but, of course, have stuck with soccer for 14 years now. Sports mean a lot to me. But that was shut down as well. Okay, that's fine. I live on a farm. That's unique. Moving out to the country was something I could definitely consider a defining moment. It has changed me in many ways. This is what I decided my topic would be. I wrote about the moment when my dream of living on a farm came true and I then transferred to what it is like. I talked about taking care of animals, and what I have learned about hard work. I took it to the writing center and the lady I worked with told me it was a terrific and inspiring essay and I was pleased and feeling good about it.
Well, that feeling was a mistake. Today in class, my professor told me that my essay was one that she had no interest it. She said that she does not care about farms and therefore, it is unattractive to her. She found my comments about learning to work hard rude because, as she admitted, she is overweight, and manual labor turns her off. She pointed out that most farms are mega farms and therefore, "don't need physical work to be done", because everything is controlled by machine's. Excuse me? I think some of those mega farmers would beg to differ.
On a side note, she dissed my mother. (Rage.)
In essence, because my article did not relate to her, it was unappealing in her eyes. As I walked out of class, I was boiling. I got in my car and starting driving home through Lansing. At the first stoplight, I pull up next to a little car that was blaring perverted music, windows all the way down, and a guy shouting/singing along with it. I kid you not, I had my music fairly loud and I couldn't hear it beneath his. He turned to look at me and started throwing winks and kisses and I nearly lost in. I was driving on a road with four lanes of cars next to me, it smelled like smoke and McDonald's, there were billboards of half naked models, and there was not a tree in sight. I just thought to myself, get me out of here.
As I got closer to home, I started seeing trees everywhere, their leaves changing to beautiful oranges and red and yellows. Instead of rows of cars next to me, there were rows of corn. The air was fresh and crisp and all I wanted to do was stick my head out the window and smell everything around me. I pulled up behind a truck and I could faintly hear the country music coming from it. I drove past D&G and there were tractors outside -
- a site I would take any day to disgusting billboards. I stopped at the gas station and there was an older man in a truck next to my pump who tipped his hat at me. Walking in, a young guy held the door for me and said, "Good afternoon."
I pulled into my driveway heated and saw my dad walking out of the barn with a bucket. He was whistling to himself. I saw my little brother on the deck with his airsoft gun. I heard the cows and smelled manure. My dog ran up to me and immediately got my pants dirty. There were chickens roaming the yard and, walking in the door, I saw that there was sweat tea on the counter. This time I thought to myself, "This is my little piece of heaven. I love this place."
I love the country. I love the animals and the fresh air and the constant work. I love Saturday afternoon cider making with my family. I love watching my brothers learn to shoot guns. I love the sound of trucks rolling coal. I love country music and cows mooing. I love the almost southern-like way of the people in my small town. I love the rows and rows of corn and apple trees and sunflowers and fields that I can get lost in. I love wearing hats and boots and jeans that were ripped from many hours of labor, not because I bought them that way. I love driving down the road at 10 mph because I'm behind a tractor. I love playing with the new piglets and ending up covered in mud. I love standing out in the middle of my yard at night and seeing billions of stars. I love that there's always a pitcher of sweat tea in our fridge. I love that I can go outside and pick grapes and raspberries and apples and peaches for a snack and when it's time for dinner, we're eating our own meat and potatoes and vegetables. I love raising animals and then selling them and yes, butchering chickens is one of my hobbies.
I seriously love the country.
Back to the hat. Why does wearing a hat and boots and a belt buckle make someone look intimidating? I would have to assume it's because country kids are tough. They work hard -- they're strong. They can spend hours a day bailing hay, chopping and hauling wood, wrestling pigs, and so on. Country kids should be intimidating. They're awesome.
Maybe you love the city. You may love loud, crazy, music and rows of cars and guys that throw kisses to flirt and billboards and the smell of fast food and no trees or fields in sight. Maybe you hate the smell of manure or think guys in hats and boots are weird and you think sweet tea is gross and stars aren't something you even miss. That's okay. That's what you love.
I still love the country. After today, I think maybe I love it more than ever.
So to all you other country kids,