I have a place where I learned about tradition. Where I participated in track meets and came home with my chest covered in blue and red ribbons. A place where, on the last day of school, kids lined the fence outside and everyone sang together and let go of balloons at the same time.
A place where I wore ruffly dresses to school almost every day of elementary... and people still liked me. :)
I have a place where I learned about boys. Where I first held hands with one, and it was SO scandalous. Where my husband to be was in my sixth grade class, standing just a few feet away from me in our class picture and we never would have guessed that one day he would throw pebbles at my bedroom window, we would go on our first date, and he would eventually propose to me, all in the same little town.
I have a place where I could always escape. Always relax. A place where I could always be me. A place where I learned who I am.
I have a place where my kids learned country values. They fed neighbors' horses, they waded in dirty water, they picked wild flowers for GG and found deer tracks with Grandpa. They played on the same playground that I played on in elementary school. They ran around the school where I went to Junior High.
I have a place where half an hour's drive can take you to deserts where indians painted their art, where we "hung out" around bon-fires as teenagers, where rock formations whisper of a creator and remnants of people who came before whisper of the things important enough to pass down.
I have a place where half an hour's drive in the other direction can take you to lakes like mirrors with heaven's reflection in them. To mountains where there aren't designated camping spots with man-made everything, but where there are little stolen places to build your own fire pit and tuck yourself in under a million stars.
I left Ferron without an official goodbye. We did all of the same, wonderful things. I told Mom that I wouldn't think about how this could be the last time. As I pulled out of town, I stopped and filled a cup with mulberries. I've been eating them straight off of Ferron's trees since kindergarten. I ate them all of the way to Price, not watching too carefully for bugs or leaves. I tasted their sweet juice on my tongue, I crunched their tiny seeds in my teeth, I watched as they turned my fingers purple and that was my quiet, happy, delicious goodbye to Ferron.
I have a place that holds my first and last memories of my Dad... and so many other memories too. Turns out, that place isn't in Ferron. It's right here in my heart and always will be.