I traveled to Yankee Land this past week. I left on a Monday afternoon with sunny skies and with temperatures in the low 70s and by the time I arrived it was dark and a very chilly 40 degrees. I definitely needed my winter coat that evening. My sister met me at the airport. My sister was celebrating her birthday; I won’t rat out her age here I will just say that she is younger than I am.
I made it safely to my destination. My luggage however did not. One of the guys that was loading our luggage had an “accident” and he had to be taken to the hospital so they stopped loading the luggage to take care of him. By the time others realized luggage still needed to be loaded our plane had taken off. Lucky for me I did not desperately need anything that was in my luggage.
Once at my sister’s house I got to see my niece NP Diva. She is always a joy to be around. She has such a sunny attitude toward life and she will be a wonderful primary grade teacher in the future. My sister’s hubby got home from work and we spent a few short hours talking. We had conversations about work, kids and of all things the art of passing gas. I am not even sure how this became the topic of conversation but it was and NP Diva and her Dad had me laughing so hard my sides hurt. I love visiting my sister and her crew they are laid back and I could just feel the stress melting away. I did not get to see the two younger members of the family. They were fast asleep when I got there.
The next morning my sister picked up my luggage before heading to work. I got to see Jack before he went to day care. This little man is a handful and I can only say he is my sister’s payback. But because he is not mine to keep I can laugh at his antics and dote on him without feeling an ounce of guilt.
My Mom came to pick me up from my sister’s and we headed out to the farm. Let me try to describe my home to you. As you leave the suburbs where my sister lives you travel through small villages and into farm land with rolling hills that are the start of the Berkshire Mountains and in the summer the area is lush and green. In March green is not found unless there are a few early snow drops in bloom. There was no snow left so it was very brown but in another month daffodils, crocuses and tulips will be in full bloom.
My parents have a 100 acre farm with woods, ponds, flats, swamps and a creek. Growing up here was at times fun, lonely and boring. I knew I was going to get out of the one horse town and live in the suburbs or the city. I just did not think I would move that far away from everyone. So going home is a mixed bag for me; while there I was able to see the deer on the flats and on the hills. In a few months there will be fawns bounding through the fields. The creek that runs behind my parent’s home was spilling over the banks. The creek in the spring has always been my favorite part of the farm. I used to spend hours sitting on the banks and just being or day dreaming. After several days of the quiet that is my parents' life.
I am ready to be back where there is a daily hum that moves at a faster pace. It is not anything my parents can understand although I have tried to explain it numerous times. Neil Diamond said it best in I am I said: L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home, New York's home, but it ain't mine no more. Texas is where I make my home but Yankee Land pulls me back. There are times when I miss driving down dirt roads, picking green beans out of the garden, sitting outside under the maple trees while I read a book. I do not miss taking care of the chickens…I hate chickens.
My Dad was still not doing as well as I would have liked but he was better than I expected. He has started to gain back the weight he lost and his cough is under control for the first time in a long time. More importantly I was able to just spend time with my Dad and my Mom. I know that sounds like a simple thing but if you live away from family you will understand how hard that really is.
When we travel home in the summer we have so many people to see and it is hard to have any quiet time with my parents. We have such a short time to squeeze in lots of visiting and sometimes it is stressful instead of relaxing. This visit was not stressful it was relaxing. Therefore I returned to Texas refreshed and ready to return to work this Monday. I was true to my word and I did not take any work with me so I graded essays Sunday. They really need to improve so we will be working on that again this week.
My favorite part of the essays is when they write a paragraph to explain to me why they did such a poor job on the essay. If they had used that time to continue writing their essay it might have received a better grade. They are either hopeful or they have yet to realize that I do not give pity grades. I use my former English and American History teachers as my role models. I did get to see both of these gentlemen on this trip. My English teacher did not accept garbage. The first paper I ever wrote for him was garbage although I did not think so at the time. He bled red all over that paper and he gave me an F--. I didn’t even know there was such a grade. I was so angry at him after all I had always made As in English. I worked my tail off in that class and managed to pass the class. The next year I had him again and the first paper I turned in that year received an A++. My American History teacher taught me to question the textbook and conventional wisdom. He made it safe to think outside of the box and to question authority. Both of these men changed my life for the better and I try to give to my students what they gave to me. The old high school has not changed much. They have added a new wing and I would give my eye teeth to have one of those nice large classrooms. They actually do have locked doors and you have to buzz to get in the building once school is in session. I was rather shocked by this development. Even in the inner city we do not have buzzers.
All in all I had a wonderful spring break that allowed me to spend time with me family and to relax which I needed more than I realized when I first booked this trip.