Recollections

Posted: December 14, 2011 in Life in General

The town where I grew up is located in extreme southwest Missouri.  We moved there when I was in 1st grade and I spent the remaining school years there.  The town, Exeter, had its ‘boom’ in the 1920s as the railroad split main street and was the center of commerce.  My many-great grandparents and other relatives all originated from that county.  The town, in it’s heyday, had a population of over 2,000.  When I lived there, the census takers said the town consisted of 588 people.  Oh, there was a grade school and high school (about 100 total in the h.s., my class had 18!), a bank, a clothing store, a post office, a barber shop and a general store.  When I say general store, that’s exactly what I mean.  It was built in the 1880s and had remained the same for 100 years.

I had a relatively normal upbringing, both parents worked at a shoe factory in the next town over and they plugged away, every day, never calling in sick, rarely taking time off.  I suppose money was tight, I remember listening to my mom talk excitedly when minimum wage was going up to $3.60/hr.  When they came home for the day, both smelled of shoe cement and my dad always seemed to be in a bad mood.

I was an only child and sort of cocooned myself in the world of sports.  I was a baseball, football and basketball card collector and created a lot of various games and activities with these cards, the stats, etc..

Old High School building where I attended

Since the town was so small, no kids my age really shared the same interests as I, so it was up to me and my imagination many times.  I played all the sports year round and had the, not really misfortune, but uncomfortable time of playing summer baseball as my dad coached.  He was quite critical and tough on me that all I worried about was being perfect.  If I struck out, made an error, whatever, my gut would churn knowing it would be addressed.  A difficult standard to live up to for a kid 8, 9, 10 years old.  When I entered high school, he quit coaching the summer team but would be there after any basketball or baseball game to let me know what I needed to do better.  This is a story that is fairly predictable and commonplace with sons and dads, so I just accepted it and figured all dads did this.

I could go several directions from here, I could focus on the relationship, growing up in a small, rural community, my upbrinigng, all sorts of stuff.  Not sure it would truly interest anybody, but this is a route the blog may take from time to time (on slow news days!).  In coming days, weeks, months I’ll go into various aspects of small-town life, rural Missouri and growing up where my life was impacted by grandparents from both sides and oddities that abounded in a town of less than 600 people.  Today, the town is booming at over 700 people!!!

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I spoke to my parents last night, both retired, living just outside the same small town I grew up in.  Since I’ve left, they bought a 20-acre piece of land about 5 miles out, built a nice home and have a mini-farm going with two very large vegetable gardens, a tractor, out-building, all sitting in the middle of waving fields of fescue.  It’s quite nice, serene and desolate.  Good for city folk to head to when we need to kick it down a notch or two.  We sent them some of my lovely wife’s Christmas cookies so I wanted to make sure they didn’t just receive crumbs.  My parents, since retiring, seem to have shifted to the GOP side of the political fence.  My dad listens to Rush Limbaugh and they watch FoxNews on a constant basis.  Living where they do, the media doubles as their friends!

So I asked my mom if she was glad Newt Gingrich was the GOP frontrunner.  She scoffed and said he wouldn’t win anything.  I told her that hardline Republicans thought he was their best chance, and then I called Newt “their candidate”.  Well, that started quite a hissyfit from my mom who called me a ‘liberal’ (even though I’m more partial to Independent than anything…even though I was a member of the Young Republicans while in college….loved Reagan!) and said ‘well what has Obama done since taking over?’  I told her Obama didn’t have a chance with this term, nobody would have given the situation we were in, but that I thought he gave us a better chance at normalcy than any of the current GOP candidates.  Long story short…she got all worked up and said she had to go!  So I was informally hung up on!   !!!!!

Hope your hump day is a good one!  Later Cats!

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