That is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs by Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me.”
The first morning in Moultrie, as I was gradually awakening from an amazing night of sleep, with my eyes still closed, my heart panicked for a moment and I wondered where I was. My eyelids fluttered open to the room that has been mine since I was a little girl and my heart was stilled as I said to myself, “I am home.”
Home to Mama’s home cooked Sunday dinner at our kitchen table.
Home to black cattle on a green pasture.
Home to quiet country nights.
Home to a small town where the biggest event of the year is the agricultural expo in the fall.
Home to strawberries picked fresh by my parents in the field down the road from my house.
Home where many places still don’t accept credit cards.
Home where you can run all the errands you need to in a virtually traffic-free town and still get back within a couple of hours.
Thank God I got to come home again.
It is a strange thing to be out of the country for two years and then come back to America only to still be too far to travel home. This is my first visit back home since I moved to NC in January and I do believe that it is the first time since January that I felt like I could breathe again. It’s one of those situations where you didn’t even know you were holding your breath until you find you are able to breathe again.
The transition back into American life hasn’t been effortless. I never expected it to be. While it has been easier than I thought it would be, I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t kicked my tail at times this semester. Living in a “city”, going back to school, working part-time jobs. These have all taken their toll on me this semester. Perhaps more than I realized.
The song above continues and fits perfectly with the way I have felt lately:
“You leave home, you move on And you do the best you can I got lost in this whole world And forgot who I am I thought if I could touch this place or feel it This brokenness inside me might start healing Out here its like I’m someone else I thought that maybe I could find myself…. In the house that built me”
I am so so grateful for the opportunity this past week to be back in the “house that built me” and with the people that built me, just remembering who I am.
While I am talking about things that have “built” me, I am super thrilled to be attending the 85th Georgia State FFA Convention tomorrow and am rather excited about seeing the agriculture teachers that literally raised me and the FFA members that I grew up with. It has been far too long since I have been in the same room as these wonderful people. Our 2002-2003 State FFA Officer team will have a 10 year reunion and I will be bringing greetings on behalf of the team. As I’ve worked on my remarks this week, I decided that I much prefer writing my thoughts to speaking them. Let’s just say my sarcasm and slang come across a whole lot better on paper than they do being spoken. Looks like I’ll be leaving the humor out of this speech guys.
During my time at home, I dug out my FFA Jacket from the year I served as State FFA Secretary. My friends back in Wake Forest like to harass me a little bit about my years in FFA. Most of them just don’t get it. They wouldn’t be the first ones to not get it. When they found out I was going back to the FFA convention, they nonchalantly made a comment about me wearing my FFA jacket again. I was a little bit shocked at their statement and replied in a manner that implied that everyone knows you can’t wear your FFA jacket once you are no longer a member. That was the end. I did it. I haven’t heard the end of it since. The stream of jokes, criticism, and harassment has been constant ever since I made that innocent statement. “Hey Katie, what would happen if you wore your jacket again?” I don’t know. I’ve never tried. “Hey Katie, would they kick you off the stage if you wore your jacket up there?” Probably not. “Katie, since you can’t wear your jacket any longer, are you going to put it in a frame and hang it on your wall?” Well, some people do. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Like I said, they just don’t get it.
In honor of that Blue and Gold corduroy jacket that I am so fond of, here is a picture of me holding, but not wearing, my State FFA Secretary Jacket.