My trip home to visit my Mom was needed. Not only did she need me but I needed her, too. What is it about going home that can stir up so many emotions inside you? I didn't expect to get such a sweet gift from my sister, Vicky. I'll tell you about it in a minute...
She was home, too, taking care of some business. Vicky lives in Alaska now, and is a wildlife photographer. She recently captured a video of a whale coming into their small village port which a worldwide green movement [to be announced later] asked her to contribute it to a new documentary they are making. Apparently she caught something on film they'd never witnessed a whale do before. How cool is that????
Vicky makes cards from her photography and I got to see her collection while I was home. I'm in awe of her work, but I'm even more bedazzled about her courage to take off on her own to a very remote part of Alaska to live her dream of being a photographer. How many of us sit on lifetime dreams and watch them wither away as though they had no merit? I think the story below may explain why she grew up wanting to capture nature, and wildlife. And why I want to be that hippie girl I was again. I think she [me] was packing the tools in her overalls I need now to help me get over my PTSD. And I'll bet she's still there waiting for me to rediscover her as I work through PTSD today. By Jove!! I think I'm on to something!!!!!
The gift is the picture above. I literally cried when I saw it. I didn't even know this picture existed until Vicky pulled out an album buried in her cedar chest. She loaned it to me to scan for my personal use. I vividly remember the trip to West Virginia for my Dad's family reunion that this picture was taken at. I was a California girl, a hippie girl all of 19 years old, traveling through the mountains of West Virginia in a classic 1961 Thunderbird. Oh... that car was a beaut! Jet black with a plush, red leather interior. The steering wheel slid to the left and right to allow you easier access to get in, and out, of the car. Some of you are nodding your heads. You know exactly how cool that car was.
I was married to Greg, my first husband. He was a Seabee I'd met while he was stationed at the Port Hueneme Naval base in Oxnard, CA. He was a hippie at heart, too, and even in uniform, he didn't "conform" to the status quot. He cleverly hid his long hair under a wig while he was enlisted, so when he was discharged his hair came down below his collar. We left CA as hippies traveling to Ohio in that car that stood out a wee bit [OK a whole lot....] with a bummer sticker plastered on the back that said, "Lick Dick in 72". It was a sign of the times. It was after all, the 70's.
Did you just gasp??? Or laugh??? That ought to tell you how people across most of the US responded to us when we drove through town. Most people didn't laugh but we thought it was hysterical. We'd go into a restaurant for breakfast, and by the time we left, the bumper sticker had been ripped off. Looking back I imagine we were lucky we didn't get our heads ripped off traveling through TX, OK, and a few other states in the Bible belt. Oh my... But we had a huge batch of the bumper stickers, and would just slap another one on to cover up the shredded remains of the previous sticker.
Youth has its blindness and other parts of the anatomy that make it hard to cross your legs without yelping. I suppose that's why I preferred overalls in the early 70's.... to give me room for all that "cocky attitude" between my legs.
So there we were: Me, Vicky, Greg, and Cheryl, [my sister-in-law who was married to my brother Larry who was in Vietnam at the time] trekking through the mountains in a 62 Thunderbird in God's country for a family reunion. I might add we still had the novel bumper sticker in place on the back... And I suppose we may have stood out just a wee bit, too, standing on the side of the road with our mouths gaping wide open watching some live cow action.
Cheryl and I had looked over at field and saw a bull, and a cow doing the nasty "right out there" in front of God, and everyone. We demanded Greg pull over. So to oblige two screaming, giggling, young women, and one teenager saying, "OMG!!!! Those cows are doing it!!!!" Actually, I believe we used a different adverb but you catch my drift.... He pulled off the road in a Duke's of Hazzard tail spin with gravel, and dust shooting behind the car like bullets. We watched in awe of nature, and in shock of cows, well... just being cows. We never saw that on Wild Kingdom, and everyone knows hippies love nature.
I remember the roads getting narrower, eventually becoming dirt roads instead paved ones. There are no street signs in mountainous rural areas, and to city slicker hippies like we were, it became obvious we were lost. I'll never forget the man and woman we stopped to get directions from. It was literally, "Well ya'll got a fer piece ta go. I reckon ya'll best be headin' down Old Man Clark's road till ya'll see the fence by the crick at Miller's landin'. Take a left at Owl Holler, and head north fer a spell. Past the old mine, and I spect' about two corn fields on down.. is where yer folks lives."
Good dang thing I hadn't seen the movie "Deliverance" yet.... Oh boy.....
It turned out to be the neatest family reunion I'd ever been to, nor have been to since. I loved the mountain people, their warmth, sweet spirits, and hospitality even though I found out later I was probably eating squirrel and not beef. [shiver] Ahhhh, memories.
The picture above was taken at the reunion. I had another reunion this past week with my family. It did my heart good. I'll be posting pics, and telling stories about my trip this week. I got some incredible shots of KY, and did a special photo shoot for one of my nieces, Gabby. I'm still saying, "Ya'll...." and am loving every sappy, syrupy, sugar filled tweak I can add to it. Yep, I embrace my dorkiness, and love my overalls, my genuine Woodstock Lily-fied sassy pants.
If any of you would be interested in Vicky's cards, let me know. I'll get you her contact info. You'll want to keep all of them....just to warn you in advance of how amazing her shots are.