country memories

A few years ago we took Alex back to my hometown…Gravois Mills, MO. Smack-dab in the middle of Ozark country. Lake of the Ozarks to be exact. I had lived in the “big city” almost as long as I lived in the country but the city is really where I felt I always belonged. And Alex? She was 2-1/2 and had never saw this much country in her short little life. My little sister also came home with her 3 city kids too. It was a down-home family reunion!

My mother (bless her heart) thought the city kids needed some country experiences. On the country itinerary? Hot dog and marshmallow roast, for starters. She may have planned it but we did all the work. We gathered the firewood, sharpened the sticks for the hot dogs and started the fire.

The city kids would rather have had their hot dogs boiled. Why are we using sticks and what is this charred stuff on the hot dogs? The smoke smells! Can we go inside now?

 And just when you thought the fun would end…who can leave without taking a cool, refreshing dip at the “swimmin’ hole” (a.k.a. the creek behind Grandma’s house)? You could tell the country kids from the city kids by which ones were in the water splashing around. My niece was going nowhere near the creek. “There are huge bugs in there and it’s slimy!” Actually, the huge bugs were crawdads.

It was slimy, I’ll agree with that. My sister and I didn’t remember the creek being that slimy and gross. When we were growing up, going to the Gravois Mills Creek was a treat for us. In fact, I remember begging to go. How many times did we go to a local swim hole just to get leaches on our legs? (Yeah, it’s gross. But it happens.) My Aunt Bonnie would send us down to the creek by her farm-house when we would go out to visit. She’d throw a bar of soap to her kids and tell them to wash their hair while they were there. That is true hillbilly right there! You gotta love that.

Anyway, I think my mom had other country experiences lined up for our kids but gave up. She could see it was useless. I am just thankful she didn’t fry up some squirrel like she did once for my then-city-boyfriend-now-husband. (Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it and, yep, he STILL married me!)

The moral of the story? You can take the city kid to the county, force them to do country things, but you can’t take the city out of the kid.

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