Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quality Time


Rodney and I got off the farm a couple weeks ago. We'd not been away, just the two of us, since last year when we spent the night in Hot Springs for our 20th anniversary. And, that had been the first time we'd been away in, well, ever. It is very difficult to "plan" any kind of vacation or anything else for that matter with our lifestyle. We are tethered to our farm and we kind of like it that way.

We were in Dallas this summer at the Bass Pro Shop and got cornered by one of those, "come look at our time-share and we will give you a vacation and a bunch of other free crap" people and we bought into it. They gave us a year to book it which was of great convenience since we never really know when we will be "free". The time came, after the hay was in the barn and before we had to start feeding it. The chickens were gone and the predicted out-time was extended to at least 2 weeks so, we hit the road. I get excited going anywhere with my man. Even if it's just to pick up supplies in town, there is just something about being in the car with him and, this time, we had a good 12 hours of it.

The Great Smoky Mountains was our destination. Once we turned east of Little Rock, there wasn't anything for hours besides flat farm land and it rained on us most of the way. We talked about fences longer than I wanted and about how long those farmers must spend on their tractors. We talked about God and how small we are in the scheme of things. We marveled at the cotton and the corn and wondered if they'd been as drought stricken as us. We listened to music and I did a little car-dancing while Rodney pretended not to know me.

The closer we got to our journey's end, the more I started looking for the mountains. Where are they?? I kept waiting for the clouds to part and some magnificent revelation of enormous, breathtaking mountains to materialize. But, it never really happened. I live in the foothills of the Ouachita mountains and have been to the Ozarks many times and, that was about all I was seeing. But, it was raining and I figured, when the sun came out the grand reveal would happen.

We spent our first day touring condo's. It was raining and yucky and we really didn't have anything planned except mountain hiking so we settled into the parade of salespeople attempting to sell us...quality time. They were actually pushing this. "Quality time". The whole sales pitch was about spending time with your family and getting away from the rat-race. We were like deer caught in the headlights the whole time. I was amazed at people's reactions, "you've never been to Disney World???" Shock and horror. "You've NEVER been to Florida???" Astonishing. "You LIKE your job?" Now that's a bombshell. It all looked so lovely, couples relaxing on the beach, families sharing time together, people laughing and shopping, cups of coffee on a mountain-view balcony. And, even the price of it seemed reasonable when they stacked everything up and compared it all. You're going to spend a go-gillion dollars on hotel rooms in your lifetime, did you know that? And this package was less than a go-gillion and you can finance it.

Oh, little did they know.

I understand it is a business and that they are selling a product. But, quality time? Really? I don't know about you, but I don't really think I need to finance my quality time. It is right there in front of me. My kids may not feel this way (yet) but some of my fondest memories are of us working together on the farm, hauling hay, setting up chicken houses, fixing fences, and working cattle. Rainy days watching movies, putting puzzles together. Snow days...running outside to just be in it until we couldn't stand the cold anymore. Cooking meals together. Squishing two kids and a couple of dogs on the couch with me. Decorating the house for Christmas and letting Kyle drape lights over anything that would stand still. Fishing, swimming, planting pumpkins, sitting on the porch at Granna's drinking tea, sitting on bedsides listening to Taylor tell me about her day, basketball games, soccer games, new puppies, burying goldfish, running after Kyle, running with Kyle, stitches, laughing at farts, laughing at Rodney, dancing in the living room, painting bedrooms, braiding hair, school supply shopping, weeny-roasts, and hunting. I could keep going. Only a few of those things really cost any money but are more cherished than any grand, five-star accommodation-get-away's could ever be.

It really made us both stop and realize how truly blessed we are. Not that we have things, but realizing we don't need them. I really like my double-wide. Those condo's were very beautiful and I could see the allure of it but, I like home. I like MY home. The one in the middle of a cow pasture. The one with the goats in the back yard. The one that has dirt in the floor and stinks like chickens on nights when the air is heavy and the wind is out of the west. The one with a very wiggly boxer that greets me every single time I come home. The one where I can step out in my pajamas and look at the moon. The one where I know my man is home just by the way the door sounds when he opens it. That is where my quality time is worth a little financing.

Sometimes, we don't realize the quality of the time was until it's a memory. The older I get, the more I learn to just be. To simply let the moment be what it is and hold it for that glimmer of time.

Rodney and I did get to spend our last day in the Great Smoky's doing what we wanted to do...be in the mountains. They were taller than the Ozarks, I looked it up. It felt a lot like our beloved Arkansas and we decided that, next time, we would stick closer to home. Perhaps buy a tent and camp somewhere like, oh...the north pasture?

Peace and Love,
Arkansas Farm Girl





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