Mar 15, 2011

How I Got Here

My earliest childhood memories are from being raised by my grandparents in Angie, La., a tiny community surrounded by sawmills and the Pearl River, nestled in the toe of the state.  My grandmother ran the local drive-in (that’s a local fast-food joint), while I stayed home with my grandfather when I wasn’t in school. 
Sometimes, my grandfather would get bored, and he’d decide to take the old tractor-green pickup truck out to roam the countryside.  I would ride shotgun.  We didn’t have anywhere in particular to go, but that’s what made it all an adventure … to see what was out there.  We’d even create place names for every wide spot in the road where some activity was taking place.  Milkville was obviously where the dairy farm was.  Lumberton was the location of the saw mill at the edge of town. 

Fast forward to my later childhood (post-divorce for my grandparents), and I’m living with my grandmother in Macomb, Ill.  We moved from Louisiana for her to be closer to her brothers and sisters, but it never felt quite like home as Louisiana did.  We did, however, live next door to my great aunt Swoot. (With a name like that, you understand why she preferred to be called Sue.)   One of Sue’s favorite things to say on a Sunday morning was, “Let’s go get lost.”  Translation:  Let’s get in the car and go somewhere we haven’t been to in a while, just because we can.  We’d drive for hours on the country roads in and around McDonough County, and sometimes much farther. 
My grandmother was not opposed to the long road trip, either.  Even growing up, I was always impressed how nothing scare her when it came to traveling, just me and her, for several days at a time.  Sometimes we’d drive to visit relatives in Louisiana near the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.  Other times we’d see her brother’s family in rural Kentucky (she was unapologetically a hillbilly, after all).  And we avoided the interstate like the plague.  I think that’s the only thing that intimidated her about traveling.    
You can begin to see why some of my fondest childhood memories took place in the backseat of a car, and that was well before I discovered girls.  I’ve been raised to love traveling and exploring, many times with no set purpose except to enjoy the adventure.  It’s the experiences, the food, the sites, the people that make it all worthwhile.  And those memories continue to shape who I am today. 
Sometimes I think I missed my calling as a travel writer.  I’m hoping this blog will somewhat make up for that.  And I hope you, the reader, enjoy the journey at least a fraction as much as I do.  


Unknown said...

love it! i look forward to more posts! :)

Anonymous said...

In all the time I've known you, I didn't know this. What great experiences traveling the country. Of course, your writing draws the reader in from the beginning. I look forward to more stories. Laura

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