Lately I’ve been trying to be present in the moment by paying attention to what is going on around me: the blue jay in the backyard, the fact that my baby brother is graduating college this weekend, how tall my kids are getting, the lettuce seedlings reaching for the sun, the man collecting change at the intersection. It seems being present in the moment can stir up long-forgotten memories, too. I found this template for writing a “Where I am From” poem (originally written by George Ella Lyon) and gave it a whirl. In the process, I was reminded of many happy childhood days. So, I am sharing it, just for fun. I’d love to hear your version of where you are from, too!
Where I am From: My Version
I am from old white farmhouses; from soybeans and corn in patchwork fields.
I am from red tractors and the roar of the grain dryer while wagons roll up the lane late into the crisp autumn night. I am from lemonade on the lawn chair in July and dancing barefoot in the first warm rain.
I am from the tiger lilies, the gladiolas and the trumpet vine; from snap beans and canned tomatoes and u-pick strawberry patches.
I am from Louise and Orville, Luella and Paul – grandparents who watched Hee Haw and Sunday night Disney movies while eating ice cream. I am from the proud and hardworking types who wash their rough hands with lava soap and carry buckeyes in pockets to ward off arthritis. From people who know how to pick rock, take apart an engine and read the clouds for rain.
I am from the generation of Sesame Street, saddle shoes, monkey bars over asphalt and “join the clean plate club.” From a time when TV’s had dials, kids got CB radio handles, and the first home computers appeared. From the cousins who got chased from the barnyard by bumblebees, even though I said “I hear buzzing in there.” From five in a sofa bed at grandma’s and playing card games on the stairs.
I am dad’s house on Wednesday, hard-boiled eggs, air-popped popcorn, and lemon-banana-cheddar -cheese Jello salad. I am from stopping at the Kandy Kitchen on the way to piano lessons for Ms. Pac Man and rainbow sherbet.
I am from the get to church every Sunday and doze off in the pew Methodists. From serve on the trustees, the council and the library board. From show up for the hard times; don’t forget the casserole. From the look under your chair for the sticker, you may win the centerpiece at the church dinner.
I am from a place the earth meets the sky and sled hills are rare. From fireflies and sparklers and parades down main street.
I am from cedar chests full of blankets and notepads full of handwritten poetry, crafted by the grandmother generous with her love and steadfast in her faith. From Hoosier cabinets and antique dressers filled with mementos and jewelry boxes full of glass beads. From antique iron beds that now cradle my own children. From people who showed me the way before I realized there was more than one path.