I can count the times I’ve driven a pick-up truck on one hand. There haven’t been many and only short distances. Mostly to shuffle cars in the driveway or to the deli down the street. My small stature and nerves do not lend themselves to being the owner of pick-up.
I grew up in a land where the pick-up truck is a gentle, beloved goliath: a rite of passage when turning 16. Where having dirt under your fingertips means you work hard, where pride and respect are earned. We played outside until our Mama’s called us home for dinner. We rode bikes, played kickball in the neighbor’s yard, and more often than not, lay in the grass under the shade of an elegant white birch tree watching the clouds shift shapes and laughing. Sometimes about nothing, sometimes about jokes, sometimes about just being blissfully happy.
I grew up where stars and lightning bugs cannot hide because the nights are so dark and their light is so bright. I knew beauty from a young age by experiencing skies that looked like God shook beautiful glitter across a never-ending sheet of black velvet. The nights are clear and full of peace, inhabited by symphonies of crickets playing lullabies as you drift off to sleep with the windows wide open.
I grew up in a community that cares for one another. It reaches its large arms out and takes you in with the warmest embrace when life turns rough. And although you may fall, there are always extra sets of many hands waiting to hold you up and help you get back on your feet. Heart and soul beat through this county, unwavering and strong.
And although I left for a short while, I came home. I returned to the land where pick-up trucks play, no matter how badly I wanted to leave when I was 17, or how quiet the days and nights can be: there is no place else I’d rather call home. Because I grew up where there are always open arms to welcome you back, where you always have a place of belonging, where the word home has a strong and unconditional meaning.