I started the first job I’ve had in over a year today. I now work at the Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg, the largest wildflower growing farm in the United States. Today I was trained by a really nice lady name Sarajane, and we got along marvelously. She has five great grandbabies. The fifth one was a girl born last Friday. I’ve only lived in Fred for a month, and already I see a huge difference in the social norms between this little town and the metropolis I have come from. Here, everyone knows everyone. There, you could live in near anonymity and never meet the same person twice, unless you count the woman who checks your groceries out at the store. When you meet someone, they ask you who your family is and there is a good chance that they’ll know them. There is a respect here for your elders not limited to people under 20. Even middle-aged men and women show a certain respect for those older than themselves. At H-E-B, the local grocery store, there is a little man they call the Mayor of H-E-B. He sits in the cafe almost every day and talks to anyone who comes to his table. I see old men having coffee and talking with him, and women come over and stop to say hi and chat for a minute. There is also still a lot of German culture here as the original settlers here were mainly German. The ones born and raised here consider themselves “natives”. The chain goes from there to the people who have moved here and stayed for a long while and those people they consider, “locals”. Others, like me, who have not been here long are called “move in’s”.
I personally will always consider myself a Texas native, being born and raised here for half my life. It feels good to be back here again. I was nervous about what it would be like coming from a huge city with lots of things to do and a greatly varied culture. It has been more comfortable here than I could have imagined. I have arranged my little nest, and have found places in town that I like to go. When I need to get on the internet, I usually go to a coffee shop in town on Main Street. I enjoy looking out the window at all of the tourists and am glad not to be one of them. They have really good toffee cookies at this particular coffee shop and have the most reliable service. I shop at places like Dooley’s 5-10 & 25 cent store on Main, and am getting to know all of the hardware and landscape supply companies in town. I am getting to know the flow of Fred quite well. When you see a funeral procession coming through town, they always have a police escort and everyone pulls over until they pass. As I said before, there is a lot of respect shown here. As a whole, there is more here to do than you would think. We have a Wal-Mart, a bowling alley (which is also where I go to church), and a nice library.
I have also been keeping rather busy putting the garden in at Meme and Papa’s. It’s 24×40 feet, so it’s pretty darn big. We have Coastal Bermuda grass all in the front yard. Great for grazing cattle, not so great for your garden. I am going to be making an investment in black plastic here in the near future. I have mostly worked outside alone now that it’s tilled up. Papa helped me get the Monster (this is what we call the tiller) and he’s been a great teacher about mechanical things. He taught me how to use the tiller and the chainsaw. He cut down some dead trees for me and has been on a yard working rampage lately. It’s quite amusing to see him puttering around the yard on his 35-year-old lawn mower with his Gilligan-style bucket hat and old man sunglasses. He’s a hoot. Our garden looks out at the neighbor Peter’s land which has a beautiful hill with trees and tall grass and granite boulders. It reminds me of the scenery from The Last of the Mohicans. I love listening to the wind blow through the trees and sweep over the grass. It was overcast the other day and more humid and I found myself taking a break from raking the grass out of the dirt and breathing deeply of the sweet-smelling air. There is nothing like the air here. It is a perfume of dirt and cedars and bark and cleanness. When it rains it gets even better, the water heightens the complexities of the smells in the air and adds the pungent odor of bark and green tenderness of leaves. I found myself standing in the middle of my own piece of dirt, feeling exactly content with where I was. Even completely by myself with no connection to people and events. It’s moments like those that I think I could be a hermit. Yes, it’s unrealistic and thankfully, a fleeting thought.
Life is getting along fine here in Fred. I am comfortable, and not feeling too lonely or isolated. I am happy with having a job and being a student again. It feels good to have a workload and a schedule. It feels good to be part of the land. More to come later… school is closing. Peace and blessings.
Now playing – Nessun Dorma – Luciano Pavarotti