"The Social Network of the South"
"Let me get my purse," she would say, as she turned around, untied her apron, and headed back inside. My parents would wait for Mama's Grandma Taylor until she came out with her purse and closed the door beside her. Mama always said that after they'd driven a few miles, only then would her grandmother ask, "Where are we going?"
This was the story Mama liked to tell me about picking up her grandmother for Sunday drives. Mama would emphasize to me when I was little that my great-grandmother did not care where she was going, she was just always ready to go. To get out of the house. To go on a little adventure. I knew my mama daydreamed about traveling across the country on a motorcycle or in an RV as part of a retirement life. She would imagine all the places she would see and the people she would meet along the way. She was always open to adventure when a friend called or stopped by with an idea of some excursion or some other fun.
It is surely a part of my pioneer roots, from relatives who came from England and Ireland and later ancestors who helped settle the prairie. There is no part of my pioneer heritage that I feel more keenly than a sense of wanderlust. I could sympathize completely with this characteristic in Pa Ingalls of the Little House on the Prairie books I so loved as a child. I almost felt myself get as itchy as he when the town began to close in on him or he was just ready to see what was further down the road, or off the road. There are times when I am taking the kids to school when I want to turn onto the highway and just take a road trip with them, abandoning the daily-ness of our day for some new adventure. Just to see where we'd end up and who we might meet along the way.
Mama told this story of Grandma, in her apron at the door, eager to go, with purse on her arm as one of her lessons for me. I think she wanted to preserve that sense of adventure in me. I think she wanted me to see it as a gift, to be able to drop everything and just enjoy a sunny day's drive. I can see its meaning in a larger way in my life, also. As a daughter of God, I trust in the adventure of my life, where God is there with me through the joys, sorrows, and the daily daily-ness. I want to be that disciple who stands eager for Him whenever He comes to me, in prayer, through others, and at my final moments on earth. With no hesitation, but trusting and giving in to my sense of wonder and adventure. Ready to drop it all to tend to a child, to baby-sit at the last minute for a friend in need, to make a meal when I'd rather read the next chapter of a novel. Ready, on my doorstep to follow where He may lead, quickly untying myself from the trappings of the world and giving him my "Let me get my purse" in the form of a "yes" that reveals my acceptance of His offer.
To remember this lesson, this prayer of my heart, I hung Great Grandma Taylor's picture in my kitchen today. Below it is one of the aprons another grandmother made. A little reminder, in the most daily of places, of the true adventure this life holds if I just accept the call.
My grandparents with Grandma Taylor. This is how Mama remembered her.