Last spring my husband wrote about sharing an aspect of his childhood with our daughter when Porky’s closed. This past weekend, it was my turn to revisit my childhood with my family in tow as we followed the roads north for hunting season.
I am not a hunter. I’ve never shot a gun or even went out to the deer stand to keep someone company. For me, hunting season memories are about time off school, playing outside (wearing blaze orange) until it got too cold, then coming inside to warm up with hot chocolate and movies. Of course, I was just a kid. My family moved away from Minnesota when I was still young, and hunting season stopped having much meaning to me beyond the age of eight or nine. I hadn’t even been back to my home town in northern Minnesota since I was a young teenager despite having moved back to the state almost eight years ago.
My Minnesota has shifted from childhood memories of the rural north to my everyday world of city buses, apartment buildings, and lots of people. My Minnesota hums with excitement. It is busy and active–full of life, people, and heart. There are so many reasons to love my Minnesota.
As we drove north, it was hard not to look back anxiously. It felt like we were leaving everything behind. We passed through towns that seemed to be made up of one or two businesses and maybe twice as many houses. My dad’s long dirt driveway twisted and turned through the trees before it opened up to the house. As we sat around the kitchen table of my childhood home, my grandma commented at was a great location we had: “You can’t even see the road from here! Or the neighbors!” I had noted this as well–not quite as positively.
Being back “home” meant old family pictures and convincing my kiddo that the little babies in the pictures were me or her uncle. It meant watching out the window as my dad and my little one played outside (wearing blaze orange), and it meant curling up in front of a nature documentary with my honey after dinner. It was just what I remembered.
It may be a bit quieter up there than I’m used to these days, but it’s no less full. There’s always something to be done (even if it’s just remembering where you come from). You can’t see your neighbors from your window, but they are sure to stop by.
I guess my Minnesota can stretch from here to there after all.