I'm a country girl. I grew up on a dirt road on a seven acre mini-farm surrounded on three sides by a peanut field and just up the hill from a pig farm. We had a pump house and a barn. We also had miles of barbed wire fencing running around five and a half of our acreage and only slightly less electrified fencing. I had a cousin who decided it would be funny to take a piss on the fence. I don't know why, there were somethings about boys that I just did not understand. Because he could would be my best guess. Anyway he somehow managed to miss the barbed wire completely and hit the super thin line of electric and let's just say after he was able to walk again he never did that again.
My brother and I grew up running that acreage, we had cattle and sometimes horses and the occasional pig or goat. Of which I'm not fond of any of the three latter boarders. Goats are smelly repulsive creatures who will eat just about anything. And they're mean. Pigs...well damn once you've had to chase down a sow and her piglets in the middle of a storm because they broke their enclosure you won't like the little fuckers ever again either. And full grown hogs...they will eat you given the right motivation. Big scary hairy things. Shudder. Just no.
I grew up, I escaped, I moved to the big city (if two hundred thousand people is your definition of big...it is mine, too big) and I won't go home again. We've discussed the chicken phobia...if you weren't around for that I refer you to this OF COCKS AND PINK LAWN ORNAMENTS if you ever want to know what is wrong with me then that post should clear it all up pretty quickly. So where was I? Oh yeah, I don't really live in the city itself, inside the city limits yes, but in a subdivision on the farthest northwest corner of the city. The buses don't run this far out but go a mile south or east there's a stop. There are six Walmarts and two Targets one of which is a Super Target that I would move into given any chance whatsoever. We no longer have a Blockbuster and our Barnes and Noble was closed which to me is the height of uncivilizity.
We are spoiled suburbanites with weekly garbage pickup and twice monthly the big truck runs to take away our large trash, like a sofa that's sitting in my living room waiting for me to finally take it's ripped and broken ass out to the curb...we are spoiled. I didn't have cable growing up. Cable still hasn't found the house I grew up in. My mother does have three satellite dishes and uses them all, don't ask me why because I'm not going down that sticky road tonight.
Anyway, recently my daughter who is an anthropology major (again don't ask me why because I gave up trying to figure her out years ago) told me that as part of one of her classes they are going to a farm for some reason. And then she says "Did you know that cows can jump?"
I am a failure.
I grew up running in a pasture with a small herd of cows and my 20 year old daughter asked me if I knew that cows could jump.
To which the boy said "Aislinn, don't you know anything?" And I'm thinking how I have at least one smart kid but then he finished..."if they can't jump then that nursery rhyme would just be stupid, of course they can jump, they jump over the moon all the time."
We live in suburbia, my kids know about drug deals and those cars that have speakers bigger than our television that shake the house as it drives by. They know about other religions and other cultures, which I didn't before I moved here. They know how to watch for anything out of the ordinary in parking lots and how to spot transvestite hookers on the street.
But they don't know that cows can jump, or how to collect eggs from sitting hens. Or how to keep from being trampled by a horse. They know the sound of semi-automatic gunfire but not the sound of hunters in the woods chasing deer.
I'm a failure. I failed my kids. I had clean air and animals, dogs and cats and rabbits, the raccoons and possums that foraged, I could sit in my window and watch heron wade through our pond. I caught catfish from that pond with my bare hands the year it went dry from drought. The watering trough had fish in it that loved baloney. Fish we rescued.
I failed them. I gave them the best possible life I could with the best schools that I could find. But they never got to wonder what was beyond the country. What was it like to live where the buildings touched the sky. Our skyscrapers were silos. Our streets two beaten trails.
And somehow I call this progress.
When my kids can't ride their bikes in the street because assholes drive ninety in a residential area and people shoot each other for fun. And I'm traumatized by chickens.
But dammit those chickens were mean. I stick by that.
My kids chased a lizard across the back yard today. The lizard won. And we aren't talking the two youngest either. The two oldest went scurrying like they were three year olds chasing a lizard. That outsmarted both of them and got away.
So really, I wonder if I failed anyone.
Or if it's too late to fix it....
I could hire them out to chunk watermelons for the summer. They'd learn all about farm life and come back all toned and tanned. That's what the football players did over the summer back home. Chunking melons.
I'd have a full scale mutiny on my hands if I tried.