Saw several for-sale signs on our way to my friend’s house yesterday afternoon. None seemed to be attached to a house, they all seemed to be selling random plots of land. Farmers in need of money? People downsizing? I drove right by this unassuming house and had to meander past an icy lake, several twists and turns looking for a place to turn around.
A driveway? A real road that had actually been plowed? Seeing none of these, I eventually braved a turnaround once there were no longer deep ravines on both sides of the windy road.
We pulled into the unplowed drive of the green house and I quickly took note that it’s occupants were likely not home. I had taken the drive to the left where it forked. To the right and back a little ways were two trucks, but I ascertained that neither had likely ran in quite some time. As soon as I’d finished my assessment two, and then three kids came out of the house- their respective sports all having been cancelled due to the snow.
We got our luggage inside, my eldest daughter refusing a boy’s offer to carry it for her, found the fourth kid and confirmed that the Man of the House was not yet home. Stood there staring at each other, the “city kids” with actual luggage for a 2-day trip and the “country kids” who you could tell had tidied up the place for our arrival. “Cousins” excited to see each other, but not really quite sure what to say, how to connect. Man of the House gets home, and Country Kids all rush to greet him and help him with groceries; this breaks up the silence for a little while. But as the last grocery item is put away we are all left staring at each other again. Three boys and one girl in the Country Clan, two girls in the City Clan, a single dad of the Country Clan, a single Mom of the City Clan, years and years of complicated history. City Girl #2 inquires as to why there is a toilet in the kitchen. As we all stand around making small talk, whenever there is longer than a pause of quiet she chimes in with “Aaaaawkward” and we all laugh.
As the night carries on I am teased for locking my car doors (in my defense, there are some CRAZY people out in the country), we eat dinner, talk a lot about school and all the growing kids’ future plans. First Country Kid will be a Senior next year, is thinking of three different state universities and thinks he may want to work for the DNR, so thinking of a degree in wild life management. I think he is a little surprised when I, City Mom, say that I think that would be SO much fun, I’d LOVE to work at a National Park! I find out that the Elementary School, Middle School and High School are all in one and that this year’s senior class has 14 students! I am sure my City Girls can’t wrap their heads around this as they start talking about how most of their classes have 30 kids in them. No, I interject, he’s not talking about classroom size, there are14 Seniors TOTAL in the ENTIRE school! Gasp.
The night comes to an end, with the City Clan of talk-aholics far out talking the Country Clan, but everyone seeming more relaxed. Country Dad, who must be up for work at 3 a.m. goes off to his bedroom first. Country boys all eventually go upstairs quietly to their rooms, and the City Clan along with the Country Girl camp out on futons in the living room.
This morning I awoke while everyone but Country Dad, who had already left for work, were still soundly asleep. I decided to clean up a little bit of the mess leftover from last night. As I was doing the dishes I almost forgot what a different world I was in, until I heard a noise break the silence – Did I just hear a cow moo?!?!?