A few weeks ago, I took some time off to visit my family in Tennessee. Around 30 years ago, my Gran and Pop heard from a friend about a rural town in Tennessee that was a great place to live, so they picked up their lives in New Jersey and moved down there. My mom’s two sisters and brother later transplanted as well. They’ve all raised their families there and love the lives they have there. I visit when I can, which unfortunately hasn’t been too frequent lately, but I love the time I spend there enjoying “country life.”
I have so many fun childhood memories about Gran and Pop’s house like searching through Gran’s old costume jewelry with my cousins for dress-up and “performing” on the front lawn while the adults all watched from the porch. And there’s something about how the second floor of the house smells that brings all those memories flooding back every time I visit.
My Pop owns a gun shop that is conveniently located directly next to the house. Inside are all kinds of shooting things and dead things that I don’t much like, so I don’t go in there very often. That old soda machine near the door still works; I remember my brother and I begging our mom for quarters so we could buy sodas (that we weren’t allowed to have very often).
This fish pond is my Gran’s pride and joy; my Uncle Rich built it for her over the past several years. There are tons of giant fish that come blurping to the surface every time someone walks close to the edge. My mom and I spent one night giving the fish really creative names like “Two Spot” and “Goldie.” One was sort of transparent and pink, so I named him “Chicken,” because he looked like raw chicken. Then I realized there were two raw chicken-looking fish so I named the other one “Chicken 2.” What can I say, you gotta make your own entertainment on the farm.
You can also take a little walk down the road and visit the next door neighbors. Can you see them hanging out in the shade under that tree?
Cows. They live on a farm next door. They’re actually kinda creepy because when you walk by, they all watch you with their beady eyes, like a horror movie painting. A horror movie painting of fifty cows. Creepy!
There are lots of animals in the country: Gran’s fish – that pink one might be Chicken. Or Chicken 2; Gran’s orange kitten, Cricket; a stray cat that recently starting showing up that Gran named Sophie; a bobcat. Just kidding, that’s a taxidermied bobcat that lives in Pop’s gun shop with all the body-less deer.
But there were people there too: Uncle Rich and Pop (with their matching bald spots); my “new” Aunt Mary and Gran (Mary and Uncle Rich just got married a few months ago!); my Aunt Joey and my mom; and Pop, posing as “The Thinker.”
It was great to relax for a few days and visit the family down south!
Do you have family who live far away? How do you make the most of your time together?