You know that expression, "You can take a girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl." Well, I get that it isn't supposed to be literal but I am beginning to think that the breadth of the metaphor spreads wider than I originally believed.
Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents on their farm. I was the consummate city girl, afraid to get dirt, afraid to climb trees and yet there I was about as rough and tumble as I ever could be.
I still remember chasing frogs with my cousins and capturing them in a two gallon paint tub. I definitely didn't touch the frogs but I went along for the ride.
I think the older I get, the more my country roots start to infuse my city girl sensibilities. I am no longer afraid to get dirty, I might rank fishing amongst my favorite new past times and there might be nothing more peaceful than hiking along a gravel road at sunset, listening to the sounds of cicadas and the wind blowing off the corn fields.
Spending time in the country has always held deeper meaning for me. In retrospect, I didn't spend as much time with my grandparents as I would have liked and while we might hold seriously diverging political views gramps and I can always bond over the topic of love.
Grandpa has been trying to convince me that I need a country boy for I don't know how long. More specifically he has told me I need to find me a man who will go out and catch me a fish and bring it home for me to clean and cook up in a pan. I am pretty sure I told him something like, "Grandpa the chances of me cooking anything are pretty slim and if a man brings a fish into my home, he can clean it his own damn self."
I often wonder how much of what he says my grandfather actually believes and how much of it is just to drive me crazy. The only area I never doubt his sincerity is when he talks about my grandmother.
Both my dad and step-father are pretty doting husbands but never in my life have I known anyone who loves their wife as much as my grandfather. It is hard to recount every time he told me how lucky he was or how amazing she is or how she is the beautiful young girl he married all those 50+ years ago. He still flirts with her and occasionally pinches her on the ass, which I must say is the most hilarious thing I have ever seen.
A couple of years ago, before I left for Russia, I took a special trip to go visit them. We went to a sheep festival – because what else would you do on a scorching hot August afternoon.
I was hoping that grandpa might have some advice for me, in my latest relationship debacle, advice a little more hardy than, "You need to find a man with dirt under his finger nails."
I turned on my video camera as grandpa sat down with a vanilla ice cream cone and probed, "Okay gramps, Whadda ya got?"
He pondered this a moment and then said, "Aww honey, I don't know. I just hope you can find someone as good as Mama, cause after all she is the best."