“What do you do for internet?” I quizzed my mom over the phone, and she launched into a story about Dad pulling all the wires from outside the house.
“Then I got an alert on my phone that said a service man would be showing up, so I rushed home to meet him. But when I got there, the guy said he wouldn’t come in the house or he’d have to charge me $400, so he had me run in and find the jack and plug a reader into it to see if it even worked. Well, you wouldn’t believe it, but it lit up! I couldn’t believe it. Roger had pulled every wire out of the back of the house when he was remodeling, but for some reason he left what we needed for internet. I don’t know how it works, but I’ve got a password I just type in whenever I need it. That’s about all I can tell you.”

“Ok,” I said, and jotted down several question marks next to the word “internet” on my scrap of paper. 

“And what about trash?”

“Well,” my mom mused, “I doubt there’s a trash truck that drives out that far. I s’ppose you’ll have to burn it.”
More question marks.

We are moving home. I’ve been away for twenty years, pretty much ever since I packed a suitcase and got on an airplane to study abroad when I was seventeen. There were three years in there where I got married and finished college, but my life experience didn’t really begin until after that. I was schooled in Colorado–first working with the city of Boulder, then another northern suburb of Denver, followed by a decade stint in the southwestern part of the state and another three years in south Denver.
I’ve learned that some folks actually believe they can save the earth by recycling. Some folks refuse to eat dip made with Velveeta or cookies made with Crisco (I’d never seen someone spit out office party treats so fast as they did when I told them the ingredients). Some folks skip church to ski on Sundays and still call themselves Christians.
The girls I grew up with thought tanning beds and hair dye were gifts from God, but my friends in Colorado wouldn’t be caught dead within a hundred miles of a salon. Coloradoans go camping on the weekends, just to be outside as much as possible. Missourians climb off their lawnmowers, pour themselves a Pepsi over ice, and slam their screened doors shut as fast as they can so flies can’t get in.
I wonder how we’ll adjust.

I’ve been away long enough to have four native Coloradoan babies who are about to have a rude awakening to Missouri humidity and bugs. Long enough to forget how to burn trash.

When we met the realtor at the old farmhouse, we knew it felt right. When the barn cats all scurried out to see if we were going to feed them, we remembered this old, familiar life. When my little girl caught one of the kitties and I told her not to “waller” instead of “wallow” it, we knew we were home. I guess there’s some muscle memory there.

We walked our soon-to-be-country dog at the city park yesterday. Once in a while another pedestrian will stop and stoop to pet Minnie and ask me if she’s a rescue dog. I’ve discovered this is the polite city way of starting a conversation with anyone whose dog’s heritage isn’t obviously golden retriever. It gives the friendly greeter (usually dog-less) a reason to touch a dog, and it gives the owner a chance to feel superior in their non-dog-breeding ways. They can walk away with their head held high knowing they are basically a Bob Barker among pet saviors, controlling their urges to pay for a well-bred animal that might produce more well-bred offspring.

I actually got Minnie off Craigslist, but I usually fudge the details when I come across an admirer. I’ve learned from my Velveeta and Crisco experiences that half truths are good enough. It’s easier that way.
“Is she a rescue?” they wonder.

“You could say that,” I agree.

But last night we came across a guy who had to be from Missouri. His mutt was straining at the end of the leash, sniveling and barking and pulling towards Minnie.
Minnie gave it a low warning growl, loud enough for the other dog owner to hear.

The man nodded at Minnie and then at his own dog.
“Couple a jerks,” he drawled. “You get her at the pound like we got ours?”

“You could say that,” I laugh.

I’ll bet you anything he burns his trash, too.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s