Life Gets Lovely in the Hinterlands

The fall leaves are really at their peak now, gang.

Now that I have a new, upgraded, awesome iPhone, I wanted to take a quick photo of the whole area around that Mail Pouch Tobacco barn posted above (I didn’t take that photo – I got it off the Internet and the colors have been greatly enhanced by someone).  The barn is down the road from me, and it was just so breathtaking yesterday afternoon, around 3 o’clock.  Surrounded by such a multitude of trees in all their autumn-leaf glory.

But we have a new law here in Ohio that states that if any sort of traffic violation occurs (regardless of the severity or lack thereof), an automatic HUGE additional fine gets tacked on if the cop so much as thinks that you were distracted by your cell phone while the violation occurred.

I have a 100% clean driving record. But I figured that now that we have this new law coinciding with my new phone, trying to get a photo of the barn while driving (although I was willing to drop my speed from 90 mph to about 30…) would be the time that my whole life behind the wheel went suddenly haywire and I would get nabbed for being distracted by my cell phone while driving.

As much as I love you; as much I desire to regale you with every moment of beauty here in Crazyland, my clean driving record and my stupifyingly low insurance rates mean more to me than you do. I’m sorry. It’s just how it is.

Anyway.

My mother arrives tomorrow but it will be raining most of the day. I hope she still gets a chance to be regaled by all the autumnal splendor around here when she gets close to the outskirts of my town.

She loves the fall as much as I do. October is her favorite month of the year – it’s mine, too. (I know it’s November, I’m just talking about October for a moment here.) I was actually conceived in the month of October. I don’t know if she realizes this, or remembers it or anything like that, since my conception and birth are not her favorite moments from a long and often difficult life.

I don’t want to bring it up while she’s here because she was not a big fan of my dad’s – to put it gently. I think they “knew” each other, in the Biblical sense, for about 5 minutes, back when she was 12 and he was 14. And I am the exulted and magnificent result of those 5 minutes.  I know she loves me, as a person, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that loving me as a person outweighs having known my dad for 5 minutes – if she had it to do over again, I mean.

Meaning: Me, being in the world, versus not having to know my dad again for those 5 minutes and all the heartache that followed in his reckless wake. Including my grandfather forcing her to give me up. That was likely worse, though, than what my dad put her through.

And that is that huge grey area that we won’t talk about, if we’re sober: she really did love me once I was born, more than life itself, and then her own father stepped in and took me away, put me up for adoption.

A very long time ago, her father (my grandfather, who died 2 days after my weird accidental aspirin overdose wherein I nearly died, too) took me to lunch. As luck would have it, he took me to my very favorite restaurant on Earth. A really old, tiny German place, off the beaten path. And he said, “I hope you don’t mind going here. I love this place.” And, of course, I was stunned, you know? Because I loved that place, too. And then he was stunned that I even knew about it, because by then I lived in NYC and had lived there a long time.

We sat down at the table in the tiny restaurant and he point-blank told me: “I don’t care if you hate me for what I did. I know your mother hates me, but I still stand by my decision. I felt it was the best thing for her and for you. You can hate me if you want. But that’s how it is. Now let’s have lunch.”

It was hard to hate him after he said that. I don’t think I ever actually hated him, though.  I liked him well enough.  And I liked that he was at least honest. He even went so far as to say (regarding my great-grandmother’s house – his mother, the house he grew up in) “You’re not in the Will. You’re not legally entitled to any of this. It’s for my other grandchildren.” Which was fine, and true. Of course, then I was disinherited by my adoptive family, as well, so it was a very interesting emotional no-man’s land I was always finding myself in.

Well, all this stuff – as much as I would love to talk to my mother about it and hear her side of things for real, I’m not going to bring it up. She’s really private, and I just want her to have a nice time; not feel like she’s being emotionally invaded.

The only thing she’s ever really told me about what it was like while she was just this little girl, pregnant with me (before her mom found out she was pregnant and put her in the County Home for unwed mothers), was that she used to sit in her room all day and play Elvis records on her record player.

I thought that was so amazing because, not only did I turn out to be a little girl who sat in my room and played records all day, all by myself as she did, but I loved Elvis.  And he wasn’t even really from my era.

Okay. Enough of that. I wanted to add that yesterday afternoon, I was outside and a neighbor here in Crazyland was driving past and stopped her car to speak to me. I thought maybe she was lost – no one in Crazyland really speaks to anyone else in Crazyland. However, she said, “I really love that you are taking such good care of this old house.”

It made me feel so happy that anyone had noticed.

She was a much older lady, one of those people who had the lines in her face that speak of being a farmer, riding horses, being out on the land her entire life. They are much different from the lines people get from simply aging or from smoking a  lot. They are “weather” lines, or the lines of God’s Earth.

She said, “I figured you were here alone and doing your best. I just wanted you to know that I noticed what you’re trying to do and I really appreciate  what you’re doing. The house is looking really good.”

Wow.  It really made me feel great. I can’t wait until I can get the barn fixed. But that will probably be spring.

All righty, gang!! Let’s get Monday happening around here. Have a great day, wherever you are in the world! I, for one, am glad you’re alive! (I’m won’t go so far as to say that I want to do it with your dad, but I’m glad you’re here, regardless!) See ya. Thanks for visiting.

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