Farmer Boy asked me to go the the co-op for him today. I needed to pay for some feed. "Sure", I said. "No problem."
I ran some errands and on my way to the co-op, in the quiet of my van, I started to look around and a familiar feeling came over me.
Every once in a while I stop myself and wonder how I got here. How is it that I live in the middle of the United States? How is it that I look out my windows while I'm driving and see acres and acres of corn? How is it that the flag I see everywhere, doesn't look like the flag I saw growing up? I don't know all the words to the national anthem. I don't say the pledge of allegiance. How did I get here?
I got to the co-op, went inside, and the first thing that hit me was the smell of the place. If you grew up on a farm like I did, you know that smell. Feed smell. It's a mixture of dried corn, chopped corn and other stuff that I could never identify. It's a feed store smell. Some of you just know and some of you just don't.
I walked up to the counter, told the girl who I was and what I wanted to do, and as she was preparing my bill I started thinking again. I started thinking about how strange it is to be in a feed store and not know the person behind the counter, or for them to not know me. It was a familiar scene and yet so unfamiliar all at the same time.
Once upon a long time ago, when I realized I would probably never live at home again, I believe I had to grieve. I had lost something very important. I love home. I love my family. It's all I ever dreamed for myself. It's precious. It's strong. It's me. A part of me will never, ever leave home. It can't. Home is where my expectations for life were formed. It's where I learned about what a wedding looks like, what a funeral looks like, how everything works and makes sense. It's the place where everything we do is the right way to do it. From church to school, from the way we talk to the way we interact, from what we eat to how we dress.
By the way, in case you're wondering it's a house, not a hause. It's root, not rut. It's grade nine, grade ten, grade eleven and grade twelve. There is no freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year. You need to know that. I'm sorry (not saury) to break that to you. I know it's not really our way, but do I hear an amen from any Canadian Mennonites out there? Maybe tomorrow, (not tomorra) you Americans can email me your thoughts and opinions. I know you have one. It's your right.
I'm going to a football game tonight. Friday night football is big around here. Not Texas big but still big. In a town of about 1100 people and a high school of 390 students it blows my mind. Where do all these people come from? Why high school football? Cheerleaders, booster clubs and five bucks to watch the game. A concession stand with a separate window where you can buy sweatshirts and all kinds of school wear. Parking lots with no empty spots and cars parked down the gravel road as far as I can see. What?!
I know. We have hockey. And yes, I remember Monday night church hockey games where the arena was packed. Mennonites from several area churches gathered to watch their church team go all the way to the championship. Mennonites, pacifists in their beliefs nonetheless, hollering at their players to plow the other guy into the boards.
Okay, that's weird too, but at least it's familiar.
Why am I telling you this? I'm not entirely sure. I guess putting my feelings into words helps me understand how I move the way I do in this place where I live. It helps me understand how I love it here but will never call it home. It's home for now.
Maybe that's the best way to describe it .
Do I love it? Absolutely. I wouldn't change it. For Farmer Boy and I, it's the only place that makes sense.