it was early afternoon this weekend as i rolled down valley hill. it was still cold and windy, but the sun was starting to peek through the clouds. the delta is usually a dreary, desolate place in the winter with the seas of green and snowy white having given way to an ugly brown that seems to go on forever. but the past week's rain had left the now empty rows of the fields filled with water. my kids thought it was some sort of cool maze, and with the sunshine dancing on the water it was a really pretty sight!
i think you have to be from the delta to understand the delta. and if you are from the delta, you don't really understand how unique of a place it is until you leave. i went home for a wedding this weekend, and it had been a while since i had been home. driving through our small town, i was reminded how blessed i was to grow up in a small town. small town....no stoplight. doors remain unlocked. directions sound something like, "turn left between the cotton fields, head straight toward the water tower, and go past the church to the second house." you know who lives in every house. you can walk in those houses unannounced. you have to drive to the next town to go to the grocery store, get a haircut, or do anything. kids ride their bikes all over town, not just around their cul-de-sac. and parents don't have to worry because everybody else in town knows that kid too. if she decides to pick all the flowers out of a neighbor's garden because it seemed like a good idea at the moment, the parents will know about it before she even gets home. (hypothetically, speaking!! :)) you can roam with bb guns in the woods beside the old railroad track. the cars in the street will stop and wait while you retrieve your kickball or football that went out of bounds. you can load yourself down with firecrackers and blow up ant piles or have bottle rocket wars without anyone thinking you are a crazy lunatic. it's just a simple place. a mayberry of sorts.
and it's sad when you come back after a while to see that things have changed. a gas station torn down. an empty lot where the house of an older lady that i used to go visit and play cards with as a kid once stood. the tree where our neighborhood tree house used to be is not there anymore. and so forth and so on. but as much as things change, they soooooo stay the same. the delta and those small towns aren't what they are because of the landscape or the buildings. don't get me wrong, we have some pretty awesome buildings....
but there's only one thing that makes that place what it is. it's the people.
you typically think that the bride's family puts on the wedding. and that might be true in most cases. but this weekend, i watched this entire town put on this wedding. people bending over backward to help in any way that they could. from driving vans and golf carts to transport people because of the muddy conditions to getting the "big house" decorated just right. from directing the wedding to cutting the cake. i'm talking about the parents of childhood friends, old teachers, old coaches, kindergarten friends, high school friends, college friends, the guy that lives across the street. i realize that this happened at my wedding, but i guess i didn't see it from this view! but this weekend, it was a cool thing to see it all unfold, and it just made me even more proud to be from that stop sign on a blacktop. everybody should get to experience being small town kid at least for a little while!
so thank you, jane anna and whit, for bringing me home and making me even more grateful as we enter the new year. while my kids are ringing in the new year with y'all's cowbells...
i'll be busy writing thank you notes to the entire town for putting on that wedding of mine 10 years ago!! :)
happy new year, y'all! bring on 2013!