Most of the time, it takes someone about 0.2 seconds to ask me where I’m from after I open my mouth and say a few words. For some reason, my accent immediately signals that I’m not from around “these parts.” I’d like to acquire more of a twang, but unfortunately the West Coast dialect seems to be sticking with me. When I give my answer, “I’m from California,” the next question that follows is, “How in the world did you get from California to Bowling Green, Kentucky?” Then I give them some sort of shortened version of my spiel, at which they seem both amused and shocked. What I can’t understand is why everyone thinks I’m crazy for moving to the sticks. Well, what I consider the sticks.
You see, I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area of Southern California. A lot of people in this world dream of living there. My dream was to get out. Now, I’m not saying the weather isn’t nice, or that parts of California aren’t beautiful. It is breathtaking to drive along the coast or sit on the beach in front of the vast ocean that stretches as far as you see, illustrating God’s paintbrush at work. Or to turn around and see the foothills of the mountains in the distance, and on a clear winter day, maybe even some snow at the peaks. But … and that’s a big but … I had had enough gridlock traffic, graffiti, concrete, and millions of people than a person with any sense would want to experience in a lifetime. Truth is, I may be from the city, but I’ve always been a country girl at heart. Growing up with the sweet sound of country music in my ears since the day I was born planted that seed. Both of my parents grew up on country music and Momma’s from Austin, Texas, so the country roots were there, even if we were surrounded by one of the largest cities in America. I’m also a product of hunting the outdoors with my dad. Many days and nights have been spent hunting raccoon and wild pigs with our hound dogs, as well as going on out-of-state, big game hunts. Needless to say, I may be from SoCal, but I’m not your typical Beverly Hills princess in heels.
I grew up in the wrong place. I wanted the life I heard about in all the country songs: the tractors, and trucks, and barns, and fields. So, I decided the transition from high school to college was the perfect time to make my getaway. With Kentucky on my mind, I followed through on my acceptance into Western Kentucky University, Mom and I packed up the house, and we made the courageous move here to Bowling Green. We didn’t know a soul, but we had God and each other, and we knew we’d make it our home sweet home. That was over three years ago. What a complete 180-degree turn, and what a journey it’s been.
We live about six miles from town, out in the middle of corn, soybean, and wheat fields, depending on the season. My drive to town consists of winding roads, trees, old dilapidated barns, some beautiful homes, livestock, farm equipment, and critters everywhere. I actually have to keep on the lookout for squirrels, rabbits, coon, opossums, skunks, and deer. It’s wonderful. For the first time in my life I live in fresh air, with beautiful scenery, and four seasons. The folks here are so incredibly nice and generous. The horses and cattle make for some amusement too. I’ve even ended up being an agriculture major at WKU, because I fell in love with this lifestyle. Bowling Green isn’t Tim-buck-too, where there’s hillbillies everywhere and nothing to do. It’s just small enough to emanate that country, rural feeling and just big enough that it has a shopping mall to get me through. We are also only one hour from Nashville, Tennessee, which may be my favorite part about living here. In about sixty minutes, I can be in the heart of Music City at some honky-tonk, listening to some of the best voices out there. There are a million things to do in Nashville, plus a gazillion opportunities to go to concerts and enjoy the music we love. What more could I ask for? All I can say is, thank you, Lord, and make the most of every day I get to wake up with barnyards and steel guitars.