Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Country Living Come to Life

Country living.  What was it like in real life?  All I could imagine was the cover of this magazine:


I wouldn’t be disappointed.

When our airplane landed, we quickly headed our way to retrieve our luggage and pick up our car rental.  As we exited the airport and drove through the small town, our eyes grew big to soak in what we saw.  Green.  Green.  And more green.  Rolling green hills everywhere.  We drove along a two lane highway considered the freeway.  On both sides of the road were quaint little stores with shabby worn signs, the kind that people in Orange County hang in their homes as decoration, the kind that merchants who sell to Homegoods attempt to duplicate by using sandpaper and antiquing gel.  I was tempted to casually take one so to hang in my living room above my couch.

As we pulled off the highway, onto a one lane road, we began to pass farmland bordering both sides of the road.  I looked out onto the acreage, my eyes searching for the houses that were set back behind the trees, away from the road.  Beautiful wooden slat homes with welcoming porches.   Oh my word, this was beautiful.  I imagined myself picking through peas on my porch, throwing out the stems to the chickens.  Do chickens eat pea stems?  I don’t know, but the ones in my day dream did.  I imagined myself ringing a dinner bell and calling the family home with a Southern accent.  If I moved here I would need to start talking in a Southern accent.  But this isn’t even the south, I argued with myself.  So?, I retorted back in my mind, if you are going to live in the country you have to have an accent.  And so I began practicing aloud, “What do you think about this acreage, Dan?”  I said in a Southern drawl, but to him it wasn’t a Southern drawl at all.  To him my accents, all of them, no matter which one I attempt to copy, sound like an elderly Chinese woman’s. 

We turned down a small lane trimmed with tall flowing trees bowing over, framing the lane on each side.  Why does every county road look so inviting?

We drove around a bend, and there it was, my cousin’s country home, sitting atop a green rolling hill, my favorite place to be.  It was like I was being transported into Country Living magazine, but instead of cold, glossy pages, everything was real, in 3D.  We parked the car next to the house and stood looking out at the view, an eternal sea of green.  I could have stood there staring out for hours.  The barking of dogs cut short my lingering gaze.  I turned my head toward the house.  

There beside us stood a two story wooden slat home with, of course, a porch off the front, but this wasn’t just any simple porch.  It was enclosed and there beyond the thin screen, a long, light teal handmade picnic table sat with rows of different colored shabby chic chairs lining both sides of it.  A setting duplicating the finest Southern BBQ scene.  My mind began to play tricks on me, and I could have sworn I smelled the distant smell of Southern Comfort BBQ Sauce and ribs smoking over mesquite chips to tender perfection.  My mouth began to water, and just as drool began to leak out the side of my mouth, the door to my cousin’s house flew open, and there was my cousin’s wife, Carrie, with a welcoming smile and open arms to receive us.  I quickly wiped the drool from the side of my mouth and sucked in any remaining excess spit.  We embraced this person whom I hardly knew, yet in the embrace it felt like home. 

Deep down within me, I felt a tinge of uneasiness.  Nervousness flooded through my body.  I didn’t want to like this place.  I didn’t want to feel at home.  Because if I did like it, I feared what might come next.  

Breathe deep, Janna, I told myself.  This is just a vacation.  This is just a vacation.

But I knew it really wasn’t.

This was not just a vacation.


  1. Love it! You have such a way of writing, you suck me in every time!! Where is this non-Southern Southern place you're looking?? Praying for you guys!!

  2. Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog. I love your writing style, too:).

  3. Very descriptive narrative, Janna... I like the way your words provide visuals in my mind!