“Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart.” ~ Haruki Murakami
There are many things you would never guess just by looking at me. One of those is that I am an “SRB.” SRB is a term students from my high school used to describe people with a Strong Rural Background. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you it was not a complimentary term. If life was a cheesy American Sitcom the blonde, bubblegum-chewing, mean cheerleader would use it to diss the nerd straight off the bus from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
While I was teased a little at the beginning of my high school experience, that didn’t last too long because I was an all round sportsperson making the athletics district and provincial teams almost every year throughout high school and captaining the provincial hockey team a couple of years running etc. That type of currency buys you respect in high school, regardless of your background. I’m sure it also helped that I have an unusual accent when I speak that makes it difficult for people to figure out my origins. I have never been able to explain why I speak this way because I genuinely do not know. I just do.
Last Sunday I went on a Sunday afternoon outing with my friend, her hubby and her gorgeous little boy. It was a beautiful lazy day and her hubby and I got to chatting about where we grew up. We are all from different countries and it’s always interesting to hear what life is like elsewhere in the world. That chat sent me hurtling down memory lane and I have been stuck there since then. These memories have been toying with my emotions all week. As the quote says, they warm me up but they tear me up. I have a severe case of nostalgia…. but I take comfort in that
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ~ L.M. Montgomery
Despite the fact that rural areas where supposed to be uncool, some of my favourite memories were made there.
I remember how my mother made sure we spent most of our school holidays in the rural areas. I always hated the idea until we got there and then I would throw myself into it with all the zest and enthusiasm of a person who knows she will only have a short time to enjoy something. I remember how delighted I was the first time i learnt to balance a 25litre bucket of water on my hand without holding it….. I started yelling for my grandmother to come out and watch me walk up the path long before I was close enough for her to even hear…. of course she chose to come just as I lost my balance….#sigh.
I remember when I was about 10, enthusiastically volunteering to herd the goats with my cousin (who is now married and has a ten year old of her own…how time flies). Off we went with our little “herd.” We thought we were so clever when about lunchtime we figured out all by ourselves that the goats needed water and off we went to the watering hole. Of course, how could we have possibly known that a) goats didn’t need to be taken to the watering hole. They hardly drink water compared to cattle. b) there would be mean and much older herd boys at the watering hole
When we got there the stubborn creatures would not go anywhere near the water no matter what we tried. Suffice it to say we did a lot of running…..and so did the goats. Finally, after watching us and laughing for what felt like ages, one of the older boys deigned to inform us that we were wasting our time. If they didn’t want to drink they wouldn’t. mxm.
As we made our way away with tails in between our legs (of course the goats’ tails cheerfully pointed up as always) one of the boys insulted me in English. The smart thing to do would have been to keep quiet. But I have always struggled with that so of course I quipped right back. my accent + my very strong insult + the fact that I was half his age, a girl and wearing a lacy dress = disaster a.k.a I was about to receive an A grade ass whooping!
As soon as I saw the ‘deadly’ intent in his eyes as he rushed at me….my survival instinct kicked it. No, I did NOT turn into the Karate Kid. I RAN. I have never run so fast in my life…. to nowhere. I didn’t even head home. I went straight up a mountain side. I didn’t even look to see if he was following. I lost my tennis shoes. Ripped my dress. Lost my cousin and the goats (survival of the fittest)…..and eventually found myself exhausted, with no shoes and unreasonably far from home.
I learnt a lot of lessons that day…… the most important being nothing is worth having to explain to my grandmother why I have no shoes, have ripped my dress, I’m alone and most importantly…. why I am home without her Goats!!!