I am a lifelong Okie girl and currently live within 10 miles of where I grew up. From birth to age three I lived in the city of Miami and from three to 18 I lived in rural Miami, close to Wyandotte. When I lived in the country as a kid I lived a mile and a quarter from my Papa's dairy farm where my mom and her brothers grew up. My father grew up in Picher, OK, a town that is literally no more due to the fact it's all "toxic" and "deadly" and "The Nation's Largest Superfund Site" and stuff. As a teenager my grandpa and his brother lived in a house a little over a mile from where I live now and worked on the farm there after moving to this part of the state from Edmond. I got a wild hair at age 19 and decided to move to Stillwater with a friend, although I only stayed six weeks and moved back home to Momma. When I got married we lived in Wyandotte for awhile, then moved to Miami and now we're back out in the country.
Pretty much what I'm saying is this: My family hasn't strayed too far from where they started. And that is totally okay by me.
The kids and I were watching the movie Cars the other night and one line in particular struck me as pretty profound, especially coming from a rusty tow truck and all. It's the part of the movie where Mater is showing Lightning McQueen his awesome backward driving skills. Lightning tells him to quit, to watch where he's going and Mater says, "Ain't no need to watch where I'm goin'; just need to know where I've been."
Now granted, we do need to have a sense of direction in our lives and knowing where we're going is particularly helpful when driving, raising children, going to college and making a casserole, but knowing where we've been is pretty important, too.
I grew up in the country and that's where my roots - and my heart - lie. My family is close-knit and always has been, even before I was born. I come from hard-working, simple people, all who may not have finished college and have fancy degrees, but have a reputation of being honest and truthworthy and dependable. Growing up the way I did made me who I am today. My family consists of teachers, social workers, electricians, secretaries, nurses, factory workers, carpenters, politicians, preachers, mail carriers, farmers and yes, our fair share of housewives. Who we are and who we'll be is because of those who came before us, those who created our legacy before we entered this world.
I love Oklahoma and virtually everything about it. I'm proud of the fact that we're Okies and can't imagine living in any other state. I mean, the thought of moving to Texas alone gives me the shivers. (Just kidding. As an Okie, I'm required by some unwritten law to razz Texans at every opportunity.) I love the people, the landscape, the history, the traditions, the small towns, the big towns, the families, the jobs, the cities, the rural communities and even the weather, as weird and unpredictable as it may be. Oklahoma is my state. It's my home.
Were it not for knowing where I've been I wouldn't know where I'm going.