Inspired by Owlhaven (a recent addition to my blogroll), I wrote an “I am from” post. What fun! If you want to join in, she has a template here. It’s a great excuse to take a little walk down memory lane. Here’s mine…
I am from horses without saddles riding down road allowances on sunny afternoons, from John Deere tractors with broken seats and Heinz ketchup cans full of old tools. From bumpy rides on school buses down gravel roads, and from snow forts in winter and bale forts in summer.
I am from the little green house with no bathroom and cold running water heated on the stove for baths in the tin wash tub, from the new house with real bedrooms, from a living room with a different furniture arrangement nearly every week, and from the pig barns with squealing weanlings under heat-lamps.
I am from the chokecherry trees, lilac bushes, wheat fields and willows, the sandy soil, mud puddles, snow storms, and the smell of pigs. I am from the prairies, both harsh and friendly, from tiger lilies and crocuses, from quack grass and weeds as tall as the barn. From bitter cold winters buried under the snow, and sunny summers with breezes dancing through wheat fields and stands of poplar.
I am from springtime picnic lunches on the field next to Dad’s tractor, and Sunday morning scrambles to get to church on time, from Arthur and Margaret, Bradley, Dwight and Cynthia. From the grandpa who died on our front lawn, the grandma who liked to giggle and feed us chicken noodle soup, the grandpa with the dry sense of humour, and the grandma who was tiny and strong and who travelled to Africa when she was eighty.
I am from the family that didn’t go to community dances or bingos but never missed church on Sundays. From faspa on Sunday afternoon with aunts and uncles, friends, or the visiting minister. From a visit to the neighbours to watch the Sound of Music on their TV, and from bicycle rides with my best friend Julie.
From “don’t chew gum in church”, “clear your plate – there are children starving in Africa”, and from “bad things always happen in threes”. I’m from “you COOKED it? But that bird spoke seven languages” and “that hag Madam Yvonne with her chicken fat”.
I am from faithful, hardworking, peace-loving Mennonites who shun alcohol and love their neighbours as themselves. From a mom who loves water fights and tells the best children’s stories in church, and a dad with bushy eyebrows, a Bible tucked under his arm, and a question always on his mind.
I’m from Russia where my ancestors fled for their commitment to pacifism and their resistance to war, from a hospital in Steinbach where my mother nearly bled to death, and from Arden, a little prairie town with an elevator, a grocery store, a post office, and a swinging bridge over the river. I’m from “forma vorsct” and “vereniki”, from “plooma moos” and “rollkuchen”. From the smell of fresh bread and the sound of my Mother singing when I walked in the door after school.
I am from the day my sister nearly burnt to death and I came home from a field trip with only Mr. Bateman to give me pieces of the story, from the high school band trip to Toronto that my brother Dwight paid for so that I didn’t have to miss it, and from the tree house behind the barn that my brother Brad built with his friends.
I am from the stories my dad told with a chuckle – of working in the bush and shingling houses, the scrapbooks full of sympathy cards in my grandma’s coffee table, the dusty suitcase in the attic full of Dad’s mementos of youth, the hat box in Mom’s closet with the blue hat from her single days in the city, the Gilbert and Sullivan records, the shelves of books on the wall of mom’s sewing room, the cubby hole full of soft blankets perfect for hide and seek, the old tape recorder with the tape of Grandpa singing “A few more days shall come”, and the red mixing bowl Mom always used to mix cookies and cakes.
I am from the northern lights dancing in prairie skies, newborn calves frolicking in the field, family gathered around the table, and story time before bed. I am from home.