Well in the town where I was raised, the clock ticked and the cattle grazed
Time passed with amazing grace, back where I come from ~ Kenny Chesney
Last week while having a conversation with my father I asked him “Why are you a Dallas Cowboy fan?” My whole life my father has been loyal to “America’s Team”. Even when he wasn’t thrilled with the roster or their record he stayed true. Yet why this franchise and not a brand closer geographically to where he grew up? His response was pretty simple. As a youngster he was a Colts fan and the great Johnny Unitas, until one day little Bob Coon thought to himself, I am a “cowboy” so I will cheer for those like me. He said he turned his Colts sweatshirt inside out, drew a large number 17 on the front and as they say the rest is history.
My dad’s simple story of identity as a young boy got me thinking. I reflected on the many times Nolan (my son) has told me a life event he envisioned for himself or others, very genuine in detail and a matter of his truth. And low and behold it materialized. He stayed true to his course and his beliefs. Could I say the same thing with respect to myself?
Being true to yourself is one thing, but accepting who you are every day is another matter altogether. That belief of knowing who you are or what you will become isn’t necessary a trait we all carry in our DNA. Reflecting on myself and watching my kids grow into the people they are becoming, the age-old debate of nature versus nurture hits home. I believe there are commonalities across genetic pools, but I am certain that growing up in rural town embeds unique characteristics and the one often is overlooked is a sense of truth.
Not truth as in right from wrong, but a deep sense of knowing (whether you want to admit it or not) who you are and the fundamentals of the game of life. It doesn’t change your ability to dream or grow, but a jump start to becoming comfortable in one’s own skin. Live on a farm. There is zero wonder where food comes from, the birds and the bees or even the sting of death. Live in a small town, communication happens across front porches and down main street. Outside of the elementary school while parents wait for the afternoon bell is how parties are planned. Some would think it is too simple or lacks elegance, but I beg to differ. The world is raw and freer of clutter with no stop lights.
I was driving the other day and Kelesa Ballerini’s song Half of My Hometown came on and I began my usual poor rendition of singing along. At the very end when I belted out “I’m half of my hometown” I got a little teary eyed. Being born and raised in a small town, life is pretty basic, in a good way. We are country folk, huge love of agriculture, your neighbor, Friday night lights, church on Sundays and listening to stories of the good ole days. Embracing the part of me that is Templeton, California, the piece responsible in shaping my truths, some would think is a slap in the face to sophistication and intelligence. But instead I like to think it connects me with the little things, basic comforts, love of traditions, and freshly mowed fields.
My writings since the first of the year have focused on hope, contentment, an embrace of inner Jacky. Maybe it is another side effect of this global pandemic, but I truly think the disease is just another excuse for some to leave their best foot behind. Looking for the sweet spot of peace in a world that wants to constantly remind us what is wrong with EVERYTHING. How you think, your beliefs, even to the point of what you eat, every choice we make, word we say is placed under some hypothetical microscope of judgment. I am over life being a competition. Work feeling like some are in and some are out. A sense to defend yourself constantly to strangers as well as loved ones. Why can’t we develop relationships like we did as kids, back in our home town (big or small), and just be free and accepting?
I am no linguist. I don’t always pronounce or even spell every word correctly, but I can relate to the truths from a young Bob Coon and Nolan Hildebrand. Plain and simple, go turn your sweatshirt inside out let the world know who you are, own your brand. You may think I am a simple girl from the sticks, and you may not agree with my thoughts, but they are my truths, I am a believer. Embracing that I am a small town girl that lives for lack of a better definition in the big city, once again I turn to the poetic lines of another country crooner Thomas Rhett “And I wouldn’t trade the things I’ve done or the places that I’ve been, man it feels good to be country again.”