Easter at the village

9:44 PM

Yesterday morning a I loaded up and made a drive I could handle in my sleep to the beautiful countryside where my father was raised and where I spent all my summers growing up. My best friend calls it my family's village, which makes it sound like there are so many of us when really there are only 10 when we all show up. Nine now that my grandmother has passed.

Pinola, Miss. is a tiny town that used to have a post office and a gas station, but the gas station closed so there is little besides wide open spaces, a few houses and the old school.

My dad's side of the family lives essentially on one street surrounded by miles of pines and bordered by a river. He grew up on a farm with every manner of livestock. He was the first in his family to get a college degree, and then a masters. I'm proud of him for that, and I know my grandmother was too. After school he moved mom and I to suburbia outside of the capital. Only my closest friends know that I grew up half city slicker, half barefoot, horse riding country girl. Every summer and most weekends, I chased my boy cousins with sticks through the woods, sank in quick mud, started fires, raced to put out fires, and never once reacted to poison ivy. I had the childhood that 90s movies are made of.

This is the place I love coming home to. The entire family gathers as often as our schedules allow, cook all morning, stuff our faces silly, sit around and 'visit' as is the Mississippi way, then fall comatose to tryptophan and take a collective nap where we land. It's a beautiful thing.

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