If everything has gone according to plan, by the time you are reading this, I’ll be in Michigan, on vacation, with no access to the internet or cable TV and dealing with very sketchy service to my cell phone — just the way I like it.
For 10 whole days I will be (in the most literal sense of the word) “unreachable” — something almost unheard of nowadays — and I can’t wait. Emails will go unanswered, text messages will go unread, phone calls will be sent straight to voicemail and press releases will be read by someone else.
My boys and I are road-tripping up to Northern Michigan to spend the week with my mother who has a lovely house and property out in the middle of nowhere. We will pass the time not with Facebook updates, not with Twitter feeds and not with instant messages but instead, with good old fashioned fun. Outside. Sans technology.
We will canoe in the pond out back and I will teach my sons how to catch box turtles and bullfrogs. We’ll make nightlights by trapping fireflies in old peanut butter jars. We’ll eat apples right off the trees and not worry if there’s a worm or two. We will shuck peas and chase barn cats, play fetch with the dogs and ride four-wheelers. I will happily weed my mom’s rhubarb patch in the the hopes she’ll bake one of her famous strawberry-rhubarb pies — my favorite food in the entire world.
I’ll show my boys how the pebbly beaches of the Great Lakes rival the sandy ones of the ocean any day as we lounge and splash on the shores of Lake Huron.
I’ll take a million photographs.
It’s hard to live so far away from your family.
I moved to Easley almost a decade ago. I married here, had kids here. But even now, despite the ties to the community I’ve made, I still feel like an outsider. I can’t help it, I guess it’s just in my blood.
I’m a Yankee girl, through and through. And I’m seriously homesick.
For the past couple years I’ve put a considerable effort into trying to talk my husband into moving up North — with limited success. After all, my job’s here, his family is here and “just picking up and moving” gets way trickier when you have a house, a dog and two kids.
But recently, he may have landed an interview with Michigan State University for an assistant coaching position in their D1 wrestling program — a job that would relocate us up to East Lansing. It’s a long shot, but my fingers (and toes) are crossed.
In the meantime, I will be savoring every minute I have in my home state during this time away from South Carolina. My speech patterns will instantly adjust back to the “you betchas” and the “doncha knows” of my youth. “Soda” will go back to being “pop,” ketchup will be rightfully returned to “catsup” and vowels (especially I’s and O’s) will be elongated — just the way God intended.
It’ll be harrd coming back, but I’ll worry abooot that laayter. After all, Eim home. For a little why-el anyway.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.