I am from photo albums, from Kodak and Polaroid and big square Sylvania flashbulbs. From sharply squared off corners and gently rounded ones mostly arranged in chronological order in tacky albums with faux tapestry covers, and from the ones placed carefully in a shoe box awaiting assignment.
I am from the simple one level ranch style home on a typical middle class, paved, side-walked street of suburbia. I am from the two kids, one dog, one bathroom, nicotine infused house with the pink bedroom at the end of the hall.
I am from the red petunias and geraniums in the planters out back, the forsythias and yew in front with the rose bush that just wouldn’t die and a large flowering crabapple too. I am from black top driveways and rusty swing set, from sandbox and child-sized picnic table and wade pool to small to accommodate all the kids in it.
I am from black-eyed peas for good luck in the New Year and brunch on Christmas morning, from white-collar and blue-collar, educated and simply, life-experienced. I am from pasta and garlic, Coq au Vin and creamed chipped beef.
I am from the gap between your two front teeth that takes an orthodontist to repair and crooked index fingers, from short stature and freckles and ugly feet. I am from determined, strong-willed, kind, honest, hard work.
From “always do you best no matter what it is you’re asked to do” and “treat people the way you would want to be treated”. From “right is right and wrong is wrong” and “life isn’t fair”, but “what goes around comes around”. I am from “If you can’t look yourself in the eye, nothing else really matters”, and “Your character is showing”.
I am from a deep Baptist tradition of faith handed down from generation to generation and the Salvation Army Band. From Deacons and Sunday School teachers, from Church Training and Monday Night Visitation. From salvation by grace and forgiveness that’s a free gift. I am from Victory in Jesus, Because He Lives, At The Cross, In the Garden and Moment By Moment.
I’m from Illinois and Tennessee,France, Ireland, Sweden, the Cherokee tribe and Italy. I am from sweet corn, brats and pork tenderloins, from biscuits and gravy and greens. I am from decadent chocolate mousse and baked brie, corned beef, lingonberry jam and lasagna.
From, “I can’t hold the umbrella, my rain bonnet and ice cream at the same time” and “Hey, look at those candles! They re-lit themselves! What about that?”, and “I thought that was lemon Jell-O!” I’m also from, “What night does Saturday Night Live come on?”, lung cancer, and melanoma that goes to the brain, fifth grade educations that were acquired by walking two miles up hill both ways in the rain, bagnacauda and a deep abiding faith.
I am from cedar chests and treasure boxes, jewelry, well stored, handed down from generation to generation, and china cherished, polished and used only for holidays. I am from depression era pink glass and Jewel Tea earth ware, from railroads and grocery chains, dietary departments and large commercial kitchens, RC and Pepsi, innocence and simplicity, difficulty, hardship and make-a-way for yourself in spite of life.
It’s truly a colorful heritage with an interesting cast of characters. I got a little from all of them. I think I did well.