Thomas Wolfe Redux

I awoke this morning in my childhood bedroom. I am trying mightily to come home.

I loaded up the ’98 GMC Sierra with camper top plastered with the “Love Animals, Don’t Eat Them,” and “Keep the Immigrants, Deport the Republicans” bumper stickers. Mutt, my Dad’s 17 year old terrier with the world’s foulest breath rode shotgun. Vivian the goat, Connie and Roxy, would-be laying hens, and Nell the collie rode in the back. My great big pretty sorrel horse rode in the trailer I pulled. We hauled ass(es) to Davidson County, where I grew up.

At dusk I listen to the tree frogs and at night the hoot owl and am happy as a bug. The horse seems content, the chickens are scratching around in manure, the collie is herding the goat, and Mutt is peeing in all her familiar spots inside the house. Then I run out of food.

On my first trip into town I paid $18.97 for a mango. The cashier had probably never rung up a mango and I had to report to the store’s business office to get my money back. I decided I would buy only vegetables the locals recognized, so I bought a pound of okra (for you non-okra eaters, that’s a lot of okra). I love okra and fried it all. This resulted in spending two days getting off the toilet only to feed the animals.

I got better and life was oh so pastoral once again. Till today. I ran out of food. I tried a new store, one that neighbors recommended. As I shopped I noticed that my cart was tingling like little bells. Others were raising eyebrows. I realized I was the only shopper in the store with six bottles of wine in the cart. Too bad, I kept loading up on staples for country living, like chips and salsa. I pulled my cart into the checkout lane confident that at last my hunter/gatherer woes were over.

The very friendly and helpful cashier welcomed me as a new customer and tallied my bill. I didn’t write a
check (I know, old school) since it bore my Raleigh address. I swiped my credit card. “I’m sorry,” the cashier said, “We only take cash, debit card, or EBT. That’s how we keep our prices so low.” I normally carry cash but not today. I’ve never had a debit card. So I asked what an EBT was. Food stamps. I left the cart of groceries and headed for the parking lot to drive to the nearest ATM and returned with cash in hand. There is food in the house.

So it’s not what I thought would be hard about coming home to the “country” again — mucking stalls or heaving hay or even hauling off trash. It’s going to town that’s tough.

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1 Response to “Thomas Wolfe Redux”


  1. 1 Rachel Crawford September 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Hi B.! Just got around to reading your post. What fun!! Keep it up and keep us entertained. 🙂 It reminds me of my own recent move to Beaumont. 🙂 It’s worth it, though.


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