Have you ever been at a place in your life where you are homesick? You find yourself looking at photos of when you were younger or when your child was a toddler and your heart is yearning for those times again? If you add to this scenario living away from “home”, it can make it even tougher on certain days. My husband, our boys and I found ourselves in this place too many times to count when we were living in Joplin, Missouri. We were only four hours from home, but sometimes it seemed like a four-day drive. So on the day the Oklahoma truck driver that visited my husband’s store once a week, tossed him a bag of red dirt, he had no idea how many folks that would touch. The previous week he had jokingly asked Marvin if there was anything he could bring him from God’s country. (Of course, I started thinking of FOOD immediately~ the atomic salsa I would want from Ted’s and the GIANT steak sandwich from Del Rancho!) But Marvin said, “Bring me some red dirt.” And he did. A ziplock bag full of it. Marvin brought it home, told me the story and handed me the “dirt”. I immediately poured it into an antique mason jar and put it in a place of honor, the kitchen table. You know how you read the cereal box while you are eating breakfast or maybe the newspaper? Nope, we no longer needed that. We just stared at our red dirt. I would envision the little boy socks that forever had the red stain in them that even bleach couldn’t get out. The clumps of red clay stuck in the crevices of tennis shoes. The red skies during a dust storm. The beautiful red ponds. That jar of red dirt educated many folks that passed through our kitchen. (many had never heard of the Oklahoma Land Run!)
AND THEN….the red dirt started growing. When my sister came (at that time she lived in Kansas City) she saw the red dirt. “I want some!” So I bagged her up some dirt to go in her mason jar. In the years after that, I mailed red dirt from that same jar to friends living in Texas, Arkansas, California and even Alaska. Always with the same reaction. Lots of laughter, and so grateful to have that dirt from home.
Thanks to the Oklahoma truck driver….he will never know how much red dirt love he spread! Let me know if I need to send a little red dirt your way. It’s seems to be a bottomless jar.
(We have been back in Oklahoma about three years. Imagine my delight when I discovered that a highschool friend(Red Dirt Kelly) had started an on-line informative blog about Oklahoma. The Red Dirt Chronicles is an Oklahoma class-act. Check it out!