Tag Archives: Love

47

1 May

Last Monday, I returned to Ogle-land to see and hear Dr. Weiss deliver the traditional Last Lecture of the year, which also happened to fall upon the year of her retirement.  Now, Dr. Weiss was the very first professor I met when I set foot on campus all those years ago.  I was a scared, sheltered girl, not really sure why she had chosen something so new when she was just fine where she was.  I’d walked into the student center, and subsequently stopped, lost and bewildered, when this tiny woman came around the corner.  She instantly took me under her wing, showing me where to go, what to do, and even letting me sit with her at lunch.  I later took Chaucer, where I learned to speak and read Middle English, and discovered that certain energy that Dr. Weiss brings to her classes.  She is passionate, excited about her subject, literally jumping up and down and times as though her words can’t be contained.

Such is the spirit I got to behold once more on Monday.  As I settled into the red fabric chair I felt myself settling back into the familiar role of student, reverting two and a half years to a role I thought I’d left behind.  It’s funny how easily the past comes back, even when you think you’re so far away from the person that you were.  I felt at home, however, really, really, really at home…like slipping on a nice pair of broken-in jeans, fresh from the drier.  And as Dr. Weiss began to speak, I was pleasantly reminded of days long gone, sitting in class on the top floor of the library, pen and paper in hand, books opened before me, quietly listening, trying to absorb everything.  Seems a lifetime ago.

I later ran into another beloved professor that night, too.  Dr. Taylor (whom I believe I’ve written about before) spent many hours with me, both in class and office hours, helping me mold my writing into something worth reading.  I was good before I took her class; I was amazing when I left Oglethorpe.  Her favorite pastime was to drag me, metaphorically kicking and screaming, into writing what she knew I would be good at.  In a way, all my Ogle-professors took turns, each pulling me along, trying to mold me into the kind of writer they knew I could be.  And now that I’ve long left the hallowed halls, the responsibility lies in my hands.  It is my duty to make them proud, to make something of myself and my writing, because they believed in me.  I can’t let them down.

I hope I can one day pay these wonderful professors back for everything they’ve given me.  The lessons they taught me, I take with me wherever I go.  They are amazing people, both personally and professionally, and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to learn from them.

Dr. Weiss…Dr. Taylor…Dr. Brightman…Dr. Shrikhande…they’ve given me everything I need.  And so much more.

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46

22 Apr

We lived that first year in a tiny yellow house, all brick, with a steep driveway.  The yard was overgrown, long neglected, and the front stairs were rickety.  We didn’t have heat, not because of a lack of opportunity but because of a lack of finances, and we spent those long winter nights huddled together under the quilt, watching movies, talking, or sleeping.

Spring came, and the whole world turned green.  The house was set back from the road, down a hill and in front of a creek.  The property was surrounded by trees and separated from the neighbors by bushes and brush.  I awoke one morning to tiny bursts of green, a relief after seeing so much brown for so long.  We slept with the screen door open, fresh air circulating through the house and providing us with solid nights of sleep and mornings filled with sunlight and birds.  We traveled to his family’s farm for Easter, two solid hours of driving, our new puppy sleeping in the backseat.  I met everyone that day, an overwhelming prospect even to the most outgoing of souls.  I forgot everyone’s name and relationship to each other the moment I stepped away, but the food was good and people were kind, and with that combination it doesn’t really matter if names are recalled.

The summer was hot and long, bringing lots of bugs along with it.  We killed roaches nightly, and it made me hate that little house.  And when we got that problem under control our air conditioner went out, leaving us breathless and sweating, moving slowly from room to room, taking cold showers and lying naked under fans.  We fought a lot, mostly because of the heat and the rapid way that our lives were speeding up to, leaving us fragile and confused, blinking in the new light of change.  He told me he loved me at the end of June.  Then his ex-girlfriend left that August for grad school, five states away.  We fought bitterly the night he went to say goodbye to her, leaving us both hurting deeply, in different ways.  But soon she was gone, and autumn came.

The trees lining the property turned fire-like when September rolled around.  Soon there were no leaves left on the trees; instead, they all lived on our deck and front steps and on top of the cars, flying about in a blaze of glory whenever the wind picked up.  He moved into my room in November, and spent Christmas at my house, braving my family, who prefers their holiday with a little drink on the side.

We left that little house in the last days of 2010, leaving behind a cold kitchen that we hadn’t used since the temperature dropped below freezing.  We spent the whole month of December in our bedroom, the space heater on high and planning where to go next.  We live in a generic condo now, where heat and air conditioning is included in our monthly rent.  I love it here (no bugs) and so does he (better floorplan); it’s a step up from the little yellow house.

I miss those cold nights, sometimes, when it was just the two of us and everything was new.  We spent the whole workday looking forward to going home, putting on pajamas, and climbing into bed with each other.  It was a good start; something I think I’ll always look back on with a warm, happy feeling.  It was the start of something good.

20

18 Oct

Things I Love, This Week:

Watching movies in bed, with the cat sleeping beside me.
Sunny days.
Trees that are finally changing color.
New jackets from Old Navy.
Mother/daughter days.
Haircuts, which I will be getting tomorrow.

It’s a good habit to get into, naming the things you appreciate. It may make you appreciate them more.

But alas, I have my first cold of the season and I have to get ready for work. Readers, what do you love? What are some of the little things you appreciate daily?

15

12 Sep

We grilled out last weekend, to celebrate it being Friday, and also a three day weekend…and all I could think the entire time I was sitting there smelling the charcoal and watching the smoke rise up into the sky was goodbye, summer. It’s been real.

The sun set slowly, and with every inch the sun sank the smell of chicken and corn and charcoal grew stronger. The smell of the grill has been a staple of my summer life for as long as I can remember. When I was small, my grandparent’s neighbor, Mr. Summers, spent every Saturday night on his back porch. We’d hear the screen door slam just as the sun crested the top of the trees, and before long, we could smell the smoke wafting through our open windows.

Summers passed, and I’m in my own little house now, with a cat and a dog and a boy. Mr. Summers is gone, and the house he lived in was recently sold. Still, the smell of summer is synonymous in my mind with grilling and smoke. And, as the days start to get cooler and the nights longer, and thoughts turn to Halloween and Christmas, I will still remember this first summer as mine, as the first of my real adult life, and one that I will never, ever forget.

14

5 Sep

There is nothing like a road trip with friends.

That said, I took a road trip this past weekend with my three best friends. We’ve been friends since kindergarten, and it had been a good year and a half since we’d all been together, without boyfriends or husbands. There were 19 years of memories and jokes and general craziness on the agenda, and the weekend didn’t disappoint.

We got stuck halfway to South Carolina because of a horrible thunderstorm and stomach problems, so our trip started out at a Racetrack gas station at 9:00pm on Friday. I’m not sure if that set the tone for the weekend, but it was certainly very us.

We have this talent of all talking at once, about different things, but still holding a decent conversation. I’d forgotten this, until we were sitting in a circle at a Greenville coffeehouse, and I look around and realize that we’re all talking over each other, but I’m following the conversation perfectly. Again, very us.

By the time we graduated from high school, we’d all read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and claimed this story as our own. Kelley bought us all tiny sterling silver pants, little charms, for graduation, a symbol that we might travel our separate ways, but would always be connected. It was true.

We looked like tourists; we all had our cameras, and took pictures every time we sat down, or were still, and sometimes when we weren’t. Picture frames at home were empty, waiting for this weekend.

We talked about first love, first kisses, and marriage at our big dinner Saturday night. And I remember all the sleepovers we used to have, in elementary and junior high, staying up late discussing and imagining what love would be like. And now, one of us is married, we’ve all been in love (and subsequently been kissed) and talk has turned, seemingly overnight, to more serious topics, like making a marriage work, making babies, making a career, making a life.

Alison and Kristen fell asleep on the way home Sunday afternoon, and I was left with my thoughts and the music. Friends are invaluable. These three girls know me better than anyone, and they are the only ones to whom I can say just one word and they know exactly what I’m thinking and feeling, and can almost finish my thought themselves. I don’t laugh with anyone the way I laugh with them. And sure, we don’t see eye to eye on everything. That’s life. And that’s also necesary. Keeps us on our toes. They’re a different breed of friend, and my life wouldn’t be the same without them.



13

25 Aug

Begin rant.

I am proud to be from the South. I don’t care what you damn Yankees say, the north is not better than the south, no matter how many times you throw your meaningless examples into my face. If it is indeed so much better there, go back. Leave. No one, I assure, is begging you to stay. I love my heritage, my city, my side of the Mason-Dixon Line. I love the Great Smoky Mountains, the accents, the tiny little towns with one street light and old, historic houses lining the road. I love the farms, the rolling land and trees and rivers. I love the dogwoods and magnolias, the way Atlanta looks in the spring, new and full of light and life.

I love Easter Sunday and Christmas, and family, and friends that turn into family, and the way my nanna cooks every Sunday and major holiday, or just in the middle of the week when family come into town or friends come to visit. I love how we can trace my family back to the 1700’s, and how we’ve been in the south since then, and by God, if anyone derogates that my southern accent is coming out and I’m gonna get mean.

I love my southern universities and southern literature, and especially my southern music. I respect my elders, say yes ma’am and no sir, and I still wear a dress on holidays, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. My momma makes the best fried chicken, my nanna makes the best cornbread anywhere, and I’ve got bowls in the kitchen passed down from said nanna and recipe cards with my great-great-great grandmothers handwriting, and that is a real thing of value here.

I love my summer nights with crickets and lightning bugs, my hazy afternoons with front porches and cicadas and my early evenings with a book, a hammock, and the smell of honeysuckle floating across the yard. I love roadside vegetable stands, old pickup trucks, air conditioning. I love my spring days when the world is bursting with newness and color; I love my autumns when I can finally walk outside without breaking a sweat. I love my country roads and my farms, my mountains and wide open fields. I love my southern beaches. I love the smell of charcoal and grilled food on summer nights. And finally, I love my history, my tradition, my stories, my people – I love my South.