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Friday, March 16, 2012

Growing up "country"

My Country Girl; fourth generation
I have been thinking a lot lately on what defines "country". When I heard someone say "that's country" or "you can tell she's from the country", I was sometimes offended because the remark implied a void of either intelligence or style. Growing up "country", as I did, made me a bit of an outsider at times. Beauty had to be found or created, not bought and paid for. I seldom had new store-bought clothes. Occasionally, my older sister would make me really cool outfits in her homemaking class. These were simple dresses and pant suits that reflected the free-spirited colors and designs  of the seventies, so for a little country girl, I had some pretty groovy duds. On the occasion that I could pick something out of the catalog, I always embellished it with some kind of lace,patch or bling; who can forget "bedazzlers"? As I grew older, I realized that I really didn't like department store clothing.  I bought my share of department store clothes as I got older in an effort to fit in with my peers and  potential employers. In conservative west Texas, the gypsy country style of clothing was not exactly catching on. I could hear remarks such as "she just doesn't know how to dress" or my favorite put-down term of endearment-"bless her heart". Being a West Texan though, you have to be like a cactus growing in the pastures, tough on the outside, but sweet and tender inside.
My hunter-gatherer instinct has become more pronounced as I age. I adore bringing the outdoors inside, and prefer old and imperfect over new and shiny . We can't just keep throwing things away-there is no Away. This sounds a lot like my mother and grandmothers who kept every button, every scrap of ribbon, they "used it up and wore it out". Being country feels pretty good, whether its in style or not. At my house, old bread goes to the birds, potato peelings go in the flower bed, and newspaper is used for cleaning windows(when I get around to it). Right now, being country is popular again; flea markets are huge, Retro is all the rage and being environmentally aware is certainly "intelligent". In the end, being "Country" is about the land...it is where it begins and where it ends.  
On Wildhorse Creek bridge

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