Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter's Bone

We watched Winter's Bone last night (which was funny in name only if you saw SNL a few weeks ago), but not funny at all. In a weird way, it made me sad and nostalgic for my childhood. Growing up with parents from very small towns in southwest Missouri, we spent a lot of time at my maternal grandparents' home as kids. They were poor, and lived in a two bedroom, one bath home - NO bath for a while, as they did not get indoor plumbing until I was about five. When my entire family visited, and there were a LOT of us, we were crammed three to a bed, which sounds horrible to me now, but as a child, was the best thing ever.

If you have seen Winter's Bone, it is not the gorgeous, green, lush, verdant version of the Ozarks, but the desolate, sometimes squalid, bleak version. It all looked familiar to me, from the wood heap to the chicken coop to the propane tanks (which we used to ride like horses), to the junked up cars rusting on the lawn.
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I recall playing in my grandparents' very non-baby proofed home, behind a chair where my grandfather kept his shotguns. We thought nothing of it. Our parents thought nothing of it, until a distant 3-year-old cousin shot his mother in the stomach and killed her. We were not there when it happened, thankfully. It was a normal way of life for us, one that I could not - WOULD not - let my children around now. Drinking well-water out of a communal galvanized tin bucket that sat on the counter next to the sink, using the rust-handled dipper one after the other. Filling that same bucket with warm water (heated on the stove) and using it to fill the bathtub, which we were all piled into at the end of the day, the lucky ones those who got the first bath. Riding on the back of my uncle's motorcycle, sometimes with a helmet, sometimes without.

While recounting it now seems unimaginable to me, I loved it. I vividly recall eating Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner sitting on the stairs with my sister and my cousins because it was literally the only place left to sit in the house. Playing in the hot upstairs bedroom wallpapered in an explosion of yellow and orange flowers, where in the summer wasps and mud daubers bumbled around each window. Where stuffed in the plywood closet was an antique baby buggy with an ancient doll, whose cracked face and unblinking eyes creeped us out each time we opened the door. Sleeping in my aunt and uncle's pop up camper in spring and summer. Riding in the backseat of the car on warm June nights, the windows rolled all the way down, breeze whipping my hair furiously across my face, the Eagles' Hotel California drifting from the car radio, washing over me and dopplering behind us in a tinny whine as we drove down narrow, winding, tree-lined roads.

merci,
Shannan

4 comments:

ruthie said...

great post. i'm going to watch the film tonight. xx

Jenny said...

Loved this post!

Kristin said...

That was beautifully written lady!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.