First of all, I have to apologize (to myself more than my small reader base) for being MIA for the past few days. Unfortunately my very old, very sick grandmother passed away last week so I ended up flying home to be with my mother and cheer her up (but before you start posting condolences – my grandma and I were never the least bit close, in fact we acted more like adversaries most of my life than friends.)
While I was home, though, one two things hit me: first, North Carolina is freakin’ beautiful; second, my story telling abilities are deeply rooted in my southern heritage.
For the first epiphany, a picture is worth a thousand words:
(Disclaimer: I pretty much have this epiphany every time I come home. Because damn North Carolina is gorgeous.)
As for the second epiphany, words are probably required to explain it. And a little backstory.
Backstory: For anyone who has ever heard me describe my father, he is the ultimate dork/nerd/closeted-hick. Since before I was born, he has been obsessed with a genre of music called ‘Bluegrass’ (imagine the most southern, backwoods music you can, complete with a fiddle, mandolin, banjo and standup base.) And to childhood Lena’s dismay, my dad is the base player in not one, not two, but three bands. (His excuse is music restores the sanity his day-job as a lawyer takes away from him.) Now, since I was literally a baby, I have been subjected to the ‘sweet tunes’ of every Bluegrass and Old Time song under the sun – all of which sound identical. And I have always made it very clear that I will never actively listen to either genre of my own free will.
Story: So, while I was home, my mother and I were harassing my father for trying to make us listen to random Bluegrass tunes for some unexplainable reason. And for those who have ever seen my family’s version of communication, this conversation was a mixture of my father and I jokingly yelling at each other and my mother telling us to stop acting like children. But during this family love-sesh, my dad made a really good point.
There are two aspects to Bluegrass – the indistinguishable melodies of every song, and the stories the lyrics tell. Even more, whenever you get a group of Southern musicians together, half the time they are playing music while the other half they are sitting in a circle, drinking beer, and telling each other stories from their lives. My dad – “Well, at least you appreciate the story telling.” And in all truth, thinking back to my childhood, one of the corner stones of my southern upbringing was meeting up with family and my parent’s friends and each telling stories from our lives. It is ultimately a cultural imperative for Southerners – even in the 50s, housewives would go over to each other’s houses and cook and gossip together. So yes dad, there is ONE thing that I took away from the endless musical tormenting. (Or, arguable, I could have just got it from all the times I have told stories about the stupid things my dad has done.)
Either way, my southern heritage is definitely to blame for my love of story telling.