Lively and dancing, her green eyes masked out her aged wrinkles. Her cheery, red-lipstick smile couldn’t be tamed. Those eyes didn’t even pause to think about masking out that beautiful smile of hers’.
Grandma tugged me down by her ears, then with her raspy voice murmured a familiar tune, “The streets are all familiar and an old friend shakes my hand, and I feel fine – so fine.”
I smiled, musing through the advice Grandma was offering me. That’s what she did when she knew I was bamboozled about something or other- she’d hum me a Tim McGraw tune that held words of advice for me, and eventually everything should be alright.
Albeit I couldn’t grasp what “The streets are all familiar and an old friend shakes my hand, and I feel fine – so fine” means for me today, in her old, musty two bedroom apartment.
I sighed a smile, “What’s this song telling me this time, Grams?”
“You’ve been unnecessarily perplexed about moving away after graduation to the ‘big city,’ lately. Honey, why should you fret?”
That’s when it hit me. College…sigh. Traveling to a whole new place that is far away from my hometown. Shudders! I’d have a dorm room before I ever stayed at a hotel.
Traveling has never been a strong point for me. Some people would detest on the fact that I have really never traveled anyplace. In fact, I’ve barely traveled before. Even the thought of riding in an airplane, thousands of feet in the air, made my stomach cringe. So, the farthest I’ve ever gone was to the Saginaw mall, two hours away. And I was fine with that. I liked the comfort of Bad Axe, Michigan.
The college I wanted to go to. Well, it was actually only a few hours away, but I knew it’d be different. A big city and thousands of people – instead of my small town atmosphere. Traveling might be for some people, but not for me. I liked my home right where I was.
Grams dusted off her ancient, red-bowed scrapbook, bestowing me with priceless pictures of my very own hometown Bad Axe, Michigan from the early 1930’s up until today.
Looking through this scrapbook always made me smile. I recognized families from my church’s congregation, while breath taken by now stripped down businesses. I could see familiar trees and street signs. The way the Crantee’s always had their lawn fresh cut. The way the snow covered half of the ground in the winter. The bumpy railroad tracks. The familiar, two-story, ancient theater. What’s not to love about dear, ole Bad Axe, Michigan?
And how can I leave?
I mean, life would never be like this in a large town. I couldn’t imagine me becoming one with a community ever again – well, not the way I was with Bad Axe, Michigan.
Was I really ready to leave my small town comfort?
Now looking confident, still making sure I understood her, my grandma chimed, “You see sweet pea, no matter where you go – big college, big city, wherever, whatever – you’ll always be able to find your way back home. Straight in your heart, you’ll find our teensy town where old friends can shake hands and every street is familiar.”
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