A Trip to Indiana Reminds Me of My Roots

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I flew to the Midwest. I had mixed feelings as the plane glided over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My family lived very differently than me, with guns and woods and multiple cars per person. But I had also just finished a book, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War, that opened my eyes to how needlessly biased I was against my own family and their lifestyle choices.

In other words, I was a liberal trying to reform my judgmental ways. I figured a weekend back there was a perfect opportunity to start.

Highlights from my visit home include the stereotypical:

  • My boyfriend shot a bowling ball in half using my brother’s loud ass rifle in my backyard (my brother was impressed with his shot)
  • We whirled on rides at the county fair and one of us puked after (not me)
  • We thought we heard a bobcat growl while we were camping, but it turned out to be a gigantic house cat in the middle of the woods
  • I ate a famous Gnaw Bone pork tenderloin
Fair Ticket Booth

I surprised myself because throughout the weekend, I felt pangs of longing for this place I can only halfway call home that I hadn’t experienced since I left. My brother raised a beautiful garden full of peppers and melons and tomatoes that made me envious of the amount of space he had to work with. I thought I saw my brother’s eyes tear up when I held his babies, my twin niece (Ella) and nephew (Jack), for the first time. While relaxing on my mom’s deck, with only the birds chirping in the background, we laughed about Jack’s spot-on Robert De Niro “You talkin’ to me?” faces. I got to see my mom and my dad be grandparents for the first time.

I don’t know what any of these feelings mean. I am fresh out of graduation, plus I just turned 29, and I am groping in the dark for answers. What am I going to do with my life? Am I prepared? Should we stay in Washington, D.C., with the coastal elite? Or should we move away from city life so I can reclaim my roots?

Green Peppers

The moment I appreciated most about the visit was when my entire family (grandparents and cousins included) was standing around my aunt’s kitchen and someone asked me what I planned to do next in my life. When I said, “I don’t know. Ask me again in three months,” it felt OK to say that. No one in the room judged me, and not only because they were family. Instead, they smiled. Most of the time, when I say that to people in D.C., I cringe because I feel like I am saying something out of line.

It was such a relief to be around people who understand that taking life slowly allows you to read the road signs as they appear, rather than whizzing by without noticing them.

Until next time,

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 3.49.47 PM

6 thoughts on “A Trip to Indiana Reminds Me of My Roots”

  1. I’m commenting never have on “blog”. You’re so great, hope your trip goes well. Tell Joey hey, guess he can read. Hey Joey, take care of my little girl please. Tiffy remember the time you got stranded and had to walk, your friend at the time had to quit because he got chafed or something. Just remember little about it, funny story. Love you both take care. 😎😉😲🖒

  2. I grew up in New York, but in a very small town surrounded by farms and rolling hills and a lot of other small towns. There are things I miss about it. There’s no traffic. There’s almost no crime. It reconnects me to a time in my life when things were so much simpler–at least they seem that way in retrospect. On the other hand, I now live in a city of 30 thousand–about 30 times bigger than where I grew up–where I feel like I get the best of both worlds: kind of a small town vibe with lots of nature close by, but also lots of culture and innovation. Anyway, great post.

    1. Thanks, Casey! Yeah, it’s a hard balance and hard to decide which is best. But maybe there’s a time in life for each of the two, and who knows, retirement might take me back. 🙂

  3. I suppose one could say I have a bias view, but you nailed it. I’ve never quite be able to formulate the experience you described so eloquently. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s