As I’ve mentioned too many times already, we just moved from Atlanta back to North Carolina, where both Tom and I are from.
I was going through my phone pictures and I found two little examples of things I’ll miss from our time in Georgia.
The first is from the Japanese restaurant near our house. There’s a mural with lots of rabbits and anthropomorphic vegetables. My favorite part of the mural is this:
In all the fun and laughter amongst the rabbits and the vegetables (ok, yes tomatoes are a fruit), one rabbit seems to have gotten a little carried away in her enthusiasm, and this is clearly upsetting to the tomato she’s so happily rough housing. Maybe I like it so much because that’s how I felt in Atlanta – just a little tomato being jostled around by an over-active rabbit. Yeah, I got deep and metaphorical there for a second. Please know that I did not actually like it because that’s how I felt in Atlanta – I like it because a tomato is being man handled by a rabbit, so there’s no need to delve deeper to see why it’s so awesome to me.
The other image on my phone was of a run-down mansion that looks like it was built in the 1980s. We would pass it on our way to the movie theater that plays retro movies, also often from the 1980s. The house is a pastel peach, and I can just imagine all sorts of 80s douche bags dressed Miami Vice-style, having big parties and thinking it would last forever. And it sort of did, because nobody has changed that house since its heyday. This too could be seen as a monument to my time in Atlanta – arriving with the best of intentions and then slowly feeling the need for a change but continuing to stay the same. But, HA, no. We didn’t move to Atlanta intending to stay. Nope, I liked passing by this house because it stuck out like a sore thumb, reminded me of the 80s, and was on the way to watching old movies on the big screen.
Then came the pictures from the short two weeks we’ve been back. This past weekend we went to a small family reunion, held in my father’s small hometown, where my grandmother lived until she died. My grandparents owned a farm. My dad hated helping out on the farm because he was allergic to everything involving farms (which he so lovingly passed on to me). So, when the time came, my dad sold his share of the farm to my uncle, who is more enamored with farm land and farm-related activities.
So, while I love this town, and have many wonderful memories of spending time on the farm, I don’t actually know much about the ins and outs of farming. As a child I did more “look, I’m on a tractor!” novelty tractor rides than finding out exactly what tractors can actually do. I was also more, “hey look, there are peanuts everywhere and I can have some!” than actually understanding how the peanuts got there.
As we made our way to the farm, we ended up behind this thing. It looked like someone took a bunch of other things and made this one thing. It also looked like perhaps we would find an alien driving it if we looked close enough. I can deduce that the giant old-timey looking wheels are to go down the row of crops, and that the tank on top (you can’t see it from this angle), sprays stuff, but as to what it’s actually called, and what it really does – dunno. But, still, there’s a part of me that sees something like this and it feels right. I may be allergic to farms, but it’s still there in my genes somewhere.
We passed the contraption (after contemplating driving under it just to see if we could fit) and continued on toward our destination. I haven’t been back to this town in years. Living in Georgia meant there wasn’t a lot of time to visit anywhere other than where my mom and sister live. So when we finally hit the street we were looking for, there stood the image that trumps all man-handled tomatoes and coke-filled pastel 80s mansions:
My family’s road. On my family’s farm. A lovely reminder of where my father came from and, by extension, where I came from. And while my dad isn’t here anymore, and my grandma is gone, too, the road bearing their last name is still here, and I can visit it any time I want. And that’s what being back home means to me.
That, and free food from my mom’s house, but mostly that.