I arrived back in Kentucky from my latest trip last Tuesday evening. Funny, after three more weeks away from home, the farm felt strange. The deep green grass, now browned by a month long drought, mimicked the scrubby, sparse landscape I left behind in the Colorado countryside. But being home was not similar in any other way. Crickets, tree frogs, and coyote calls replaced traffic sounds, sirens, and door slamming upstairs neighbors. Tractor Supply, Lowes, and Southern States return as my shopping places of choice, though they hardly hold a candle to my forays into Neiman-Marcus, Dillards, Nordstroms, and Macys. My empty, dusty wallet, once again carried in the convenience my back pocket, no way approaches the $6,500 (yes, that is six thousand five hundred) ostrich leather Prada handbag I covetted. (Yes, gentlemen there are purses that expensive out there. Aren’t you thankful for your low-maintenance woman?) The clearance shoes priced at $400 in the “Needless Markup” store, I left behind in favor of my $35 muck boots.
For nearly six weeks (in two batches) I ate in real restaurants with real waiters and tablecloths, tipped far too much, and enjoyed the company of old and new friends. I shopped. I went to the movies (the first time in the US since the first Titanic was released). I won $1,000 at a casino (another first!) I had a pedicure (another first, at least done by someone else), got new glasses and contact lenses, and had my teeth cleaned. I was invited to people’s houses for barbeques, participated in trivia contests, had grown-up conversations that involved more than “moo,” “ruff,” and “meow” interpretations. I met people from Wisconsin and New Jersey and other “exotic” places, ran into Wildcat fans everywhere (which someone told me is why they refer to the University of Kentucky fans as the Big Blue Nation), and refound the value of shopping as a female bonding activity. It was great.
It was wonderful and horrible all at the same time. Wonderful because these are things I enjoy immensely but do rarely, and horrible because it left me wondering if the city girl in me still wanted to live in the city more than the country. Should I return to the city? Continue on this path? Face it. I LIKE traveling. I LIKE spending money. I LIKE nice stuff….yep champagne taste on a Koolaid pocketbook (I can’t afford beer).
So, I am back now. Back to chores and laundry, mowing and blogging, musing and wondering. Back to naming calves, fixing the house, eating dinners in front of the television, often alone and sometimes overwhelmed by all this…this…stuff…this…FARMING stuff! Will I ever be content again? What is the answer?
While mowing around the electric fence today, I came to the conclusion that I need one of two things to settle my enigmatic personality:
I need to win the lottery or I need a clone of myself.
Yeah, right. I will just run right out and win a few million and all my problems will be solved. Uh huh.
Instead, maybe I will just momentarily be happy that I have seen both sides of life and that I have a choice. Few in this world do. Many never see a mall let alone a department store or beautiful $3,000 earrings– priced per earring– let alone turn down the purchase because they are white, not yellow, gold. (Well, I had to give her some excuse! Choking would have been rude!) Many face outrageous medical bills like my brother and “sister.”
My brother is progressing in his healing and I understand his bills are more than $80,000. My friend received mixed news and will soon start chemo, reconstructive surgery, and radiation, and her bill just for tests ALONE was over $30,000 before the first of two surgeries. Everyone else I love is in a health holding pattern. Most people I know take daily prescriptions for everything from diabetes to high blood pressure, yet other than some odd fatigue thing that has plagued me for twenty years or more, I am healthy. I have no medical expenses, I take no medicines on a regular basis. In fact, I have few of the worries many people my age face. So altogether now, may I have a unified, “Geez!” with my whine?!
I may travel west again in the next few weeks as my friend begins her medical treatments; I might even take an actual vacation.. But as I mowed around the electric fence this morning I also realized wherever I am…I am blessed.
I guess I can pass on the $6,500 handbag, the $3,000 diamond studs, and the shoes priced for a steal at just $400 just this once. On the other hand…
Oh, Mi-ike! Can we raise ostriches next?!