The town I currently live in is the same town and area I grew up in until I moved to the Hill Country during the summer after the fifth grade. I grew up in the older side of town and I have many memories of walking down the old streets, playing games in the field in front of and directly behind my home, and of visiting the Piggly Wiggly across the street. This Piggly Wiggly is often where our blind rescued poodle would wander into and the manager would have to call us to come get our dog.
I also have a very strange memory of my oldest falling down a man hole near the Piggly Wiggly and getting hurt on our way to school, because a City worker had inadvertently left the manhole uncovered.
The town I grew up in is very much different from the town I live in now--even if both are essentially the same place. This city started to expand at the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s. I often wonder if it has stopped expanding. When newcomers ask me about how our town looked when I grew up, I often tell them that our town has exploded in growth. The mall we have was a beacon in the night to drivers along Interstate 35. I always wanted to go there as a child and as an adult I wont stick my foot in it unless you really pressure me.
In a lot of ways I love my town. In a lot of ways I also despise the fact that my town has changed in many unfavorable ways. Whole neighborhoods are run down, businesses have moved out, and I feel like I am going to be mugged when I visit our local Walmart.
My sister visited me last year from Oklahoma. Her town isn't known for its nice shopping and cultural arts, so when she came down she wanted to visit the Dallas Art Museum which isn't too far from me. Here's the problem: Even though it would have taken us only twenty or 25 minutes to drive there, I refused to drive down the interstate to get there. For me, driving in traffic isn't worth going to a museum, the zoo, or a performance--unless that is I have free tickets. My only exceptions are Kenny Chesney and Randy Travis with their voices as smooth as chocolate. So my sister got stuck with watching a movie and shopping at a local antique store.
I'm excited about the road trip we are taking soon. My brother-in-law is getting married the end of this week and will be having a reception in Utah some days later for our family there. We are going a way we have never gone before and are making many pit stops along the way. I imagine our road trip will be like a virtual museum before us. I plan on stopping at a few historical markers, visiting monuments, and exploring majestic vistas. Some of the rest stops have museum type displays and can be some of the most interesting places to stop on road trips. I also found out that we will be driving just north of the World Largest Rocking Chair, so if I find the need to kick up my feet you know where to find me.
It is strange for me to say this, but I think the city has made me want to go back to my roots. Not necessarily back to the towns I have lived, but rather back to a simpler life. I know the city holds many conveniences that I have become accustomed to, but I don't want to rely on them any longer. It is going to require more time on my part to plan, but in the end it will be worth it.
Then out on my covered front porch I'll kick up my feet and relax...not on the world's largest rocking chair, but rather in my husband's handcrafted one. If I can convince him to make me one that is.