*I must preface this entry by admitting I meant to sit down and write this about four days ago, but between school and work it didn’t happen. I’m now glad it’s just getting written now for reasons to be explained to my 2.5 readers in due time! So I think I’ll write the first part as I intended to originally, and then I’ll add on what came to mind in the last 24 hours.
It’s been right at a year since I left cookie-cutter suburb Alpharetta for the sprawling wilderness known as Kennesaw, AKA Horsetown or Very East Cobb to yours truly. (I’ve begun referring to it as the latter once I realized only a very few people are aware of Horsetown, the South’s largest horse supply store.) Anyway, my friend Jonah and Lauren and Andrew (my sister and bro-in-law) were kind enough to help me move all my clutter from Glenn Knolls Court to Alison Jane Lane. How fondly I remember the nausea that set in immediately after returning the moving truck to Budget (where it was $50 total, I might add…cheapest move of my life!). Not so much because I missed Alpharetta, because I still commute to work over there, but because moving to Kennesaw meant it was time to start back to school at KSU, which is about five miles from my house. Once I was settled in and on my own, I’ll never forget going to the Kroger about a mile down the road and feeling like I’d stepped back into 1989. It was late at night and they were literally tearing down a few regular check-out aisles to make way for the self check-outs that have been in most other Krogers for at least four or five years. I also felt like a city slicker in there, because the check-out clerk had a female mullet, and the shopper in front of me complimented her hair. (Turns out the clerk gets it cut in the same 80s plaza where the Kroger is, at the ironically named Famous Hair.) If I didn’t already feel like I’d moved to the edge of the civilized world, I did then!
Fast-forward to a year later…I absolutely love my neighbourhood, where I walk when it’s warm enough (a lap around is almost two miles, and also a great visual exercise in late 70s architecture). I’m blessed to go to school at a college where half the student body of 22K+ is over the age of 25, thus I’m never the oldest one in any of my classes. I literally pass well over a dozen churches on my commute to work, ranging from Free Will Baptist to Korean Presbyterian. Lest I forget Horsetown, I pass it to/from work as well, and I’m delighted to say that a new Little Caesars is fixing to open in the hausty Centre Stage shopping plaza right down Shallowford Road from there. And the 1989 Kroger, you ask? I now not only do most all of my grocery shopping there, but also get my gas in the Kroger filling station out front, where the white trash clerk there is chronically yelling over the intercom at all the regular customers she knows, making sure they’re stocked up on their favourite cigarettes and lottery tickets. It’s no wonder I’ve started back listening to country music like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I live in Horsetown, for crying out loud!
And now for the addendum from the last 24 hours…
I had the brilliant idea to make an impromptu trip home when I got off work yesterday morning. Between work and school, things have been crazy, and I just wasn’t sure when I’d get home again before my for-sure next visit over my spring break. I knew Daddy was at his yearly PE conference on Jekyll Island, but I had no idea Mama had also fled the county! So about halfway home, I called Lauren to tell her how clever I was for plotting this surprise visit to keep Barb company. It was then that I was informed of my folly, as Mama was on her way to Atlanta to a cooking class. To make matters worse, I couldn’t even get an appointment to get my hair cut with my regular girl in Valdosta, which was another reason for the last-minute trek. Well, it’s 3AM on Sunday now, and I’m glad to say all is well…Daddy got home last night right after I laid down to sleep, and Mama will be home this morning at some point. I also got the lovely Jan Brasher to trim my hair, and she did an amazing job! And finally, I got to spend plenty of unrushed, quality time with Granny and my fave cousins, Stephanie and Kristy. There’s another fateful story I could tell about a funeral I should’ve gone to yesterday, but I had no appropriate clothes packed to wear, so I’ll leave it at that. Where I was going with this convoluted add-on is that it felt very surreal to come home to an empty Shiloh. Yes, it felt like home, but just the empty shell of the building, not the warm home I’m accustomed to being welcomed back to. (It was literally cold…the heat wasn’t on since everyone was out of town!) Once again I realized that home, to quote the cliche, is where the heart is. Where you hang your hat and promptly microwave taquitos after a long night at work, or in the case of Shiloh, where I’m greeted by hugs and home-cooked meals. I’m reminded of a Leopoldo Lugones story I read this past week for my “Poe & La Plata” class, but I will also save that story for another time. In a nutshell, this is also home to me: