The first 12 years of my life were spent living on the Southside of Des Moines as a pastor's daughter. Some friends of the family lived in the small town that we now reside outside of. When we would go to their house for a visit or to play, I honestly and completely thought they lived in the country. Even though they lived in a nice cul de sac surrounded by houses, I figured since it took us 25 minutes to get there from the city and there was a lot of open space in the town and there was a creek at the bottom of their street, that it was country living. Call me sheltered but that's what I thought.
Right before 6th grade, my Dad took a new church in the metropolis of Burlington, IA. Ahhh Burlington. Not near the big city that Des Moines was, they didn't even have a Wal Mart when we moved there, can you imagine? And our house happened to be right on the highway leading out of town and technically outside of city limits. We could see the main drag, the bank, the stoplights and everything from our house but I was sure that because there was a cornfield behind our house and we were too far outside of city limits to have cable that we were now living in the boondocks. Even though we lived in the boondocks, or so I thought, it still felt like a big town with a diverse group of people. When I started 9th grade at the high school, I think there were 400+ in our class. I thought I had the perfect mix of boondock living and urban. Did I mention I was also going through a phase at this age where I thought I was or wanted to be black? True story. I knew the gang signs, the colors, had lots of black friends, and loved me some hot sauce! (Thanks MJ) You may wonder what this has to do with anything, I promise it'll all make sense shortly.
The summer before my junior year we moved yet again back to the Des Moines area. P.S. I hate moving. I had decided and informed my parents that I didn't care where we lived I wasn't going to the big Des Moines high schools, I wanted to go to a small school. We worked out the details with those family friends I mentioned early who lived out in the "country" and I started my junior year at VM Community School which housed K-12. I knew I was out of my element when I pulled in the parking lot that first day of school and saw all these dusty vehicles and the alarming number of pick up trucks. Seriously. Then I walk into the school and I swear to you every single male I saw was wearing a wildlife sweatshirt and let's just say it wasn't a very "diverse" student body. I, of course was looking for the black folks (remember?) and found only one, J, who was mixed and hated rap music. WHAT?!? I seriously thought I would die and wanted to drop out immediately. These were not my kind of folks. Obviously, that wasn't an option. The first few months were a little rough, you know how it is being the new girl in a small school when everyone else has been going to school together since kindergarten but I survived. And somewhere along the way I grew to love the small town, the dirty pickups, and even fell HARD for one of those boys wearing a deer sweatshirt.
Despite the ugly deer sweatshirt, he caught my eye that first day and I swear it was love at first sight. He happened to be a REAL country boy who lived WAY out in the country on a gravel road on a farm. I won't go into all the details, that's for another post, but let's just say sometimes country boys tend to be a little shy and slow moving so it took this particular boy almost to the end of our senior year to finally ask me out. The rest is history, he pledged his undying love for me, left for 3 months with the military, wrote every day while he was gone, came home and 5 months later proposed. Another tidbit about country boys, when they know what they want they don't waste time.
After a year and a half of dating we done got hitched. No seriously, he doesn't really talk like that. :) Anyway, he'd always told me that having been raised in the country there was no way he'd ever be able to live in town. And that's how we ended up here, 5 miles outside of the town I thought was the country growing up, and right down the road from where he grew up. And now I realize how delusional I was and what really living in the country is. It means no pizza delivery, no cable (thank goodness for direct tv), no 5 minute trips to the store, no block parties, no neighborhood kids riding their bikes around, no pavement. But I do know now that this is where I belong. It means I can have animals, I can go outside in my PJ's, I can layout nude and no one will see. C'mon you don't really think I do that do you? PUHLEASE. It means seeing the stars at night without any street lights to obstruct the view, it means being able to hear the coyotes and birds, and it means going in the the ditch nearly every winter because even after 9 years out here I still haven't figured out how to drive on gravel when it's slick. Awesome.
And that is the beginning of my journey as the self proclaimed, Prairie Princess.....stay tuned.