WHERE I'M FROM
I am from a book of children's stories, from Nestea with lemon and non-designer brand jeans.
I am from the two-story house with crooked front steps; from tall, staring windows and green, shaggy carpet and a redesigned breezeway, now a kitchen nook.
I am from the golden, swaying, Weeping Willow Tree Goddess and from a backyard row full, leafy peony bushes with fat pink and white blossoms. I am from a black and gold back patio, railroad ties and colorful shrubs. I am from a rusty gas grill that made many, many mystery burgers.
I am from weekend camping trips to Bailey's Ford and canoeing down the Yellow River and from dimples and laugh lines, from German family names no one can spell or pronounce, from ancestors of the Royal Apple and from men named after a big, red dog.
I am from late night parental arguments, sitting fearful at the top of the stairs listening, and I am from unconditional love. From "take your fingers out of your mouth & quit biting your nails," and "why are you so nervous?" and "do I have to get the wooden spoon out?"
I am from the Methodist Cherub Children's choir and natural witchcraft. I pray to the trees and the moon and the stars, although grandmother's Baptist God only hears me if I pray in one of His churches. I am from dancing in the rain and hugging trees and dirt worshiping.
I am from Dukes of Normandy, the Belle Plaine and the Cedar River rapids. From rolling hills of sweet Iowa corn, stuffed green bell peppers and Saturday night popcorn and Sunday morning pancakes. From the brave pilot who lands planes in rivers, and cross-country motorcycle travelers, and from grandmothers and great-aunts who create with color and fabric and food.
I am from crumbling photo albums forgotten in the corners of the attic, from sleek and polished antique marble-topped tables handed down through generations; I am from connections with unknown ancestors, pieces of their lives passed down to me, kept close to my heart.