You hear it said that life ebbs and flows, and that sounds right to me. Mine seems to resemble the Bay of Fundy; when the tide is in, it shimmers with abundance, and during its ebb there is a tidal bore, a reversal of current, and a startling emptiness. The wonder of this is that there is an excitement in that vast reversal, a beauty in those mud flats that is engendered by its rarity and its guarantee of another high tide, like clockwork.
In June of 1973, right after my brother was born, my family moved from the trailer to our brand-new house on Rural Route 2, between Wake Forest and Rolesville. I can only imagine how much this pleased my mother, who grew up in the country. We now had a little house with enough land to plant a sizable vegetable garden. My father, who was not raised in a rural environment, even bought and drove a little red Farm-All tractor to plow the land. Thus, I spent many summer afternoons shelling butterbeans, shucking corn, bent over strawberries, hoping for watermelons, and eating radishes straight out of the ground.
There was large hill that was perfect for Big Wheels and sledding. Old photos show a barren yard with scattered skinny treelings. My father still lives in that house and now those trees are huge, shade-collecting landmarks. There was a nearby pond for fishing and trails and woods for bikes and extensive games of "Hide," complete with walkie-talkies.
More than anything, I think my mom liked the new house because it was much closer to her family, who still owned and operated a family tobacco farm in Justice, just thirty minutes away. This enabled her to raise her boys her way, which to her mind was the only correct way; strong family ties, good common sense, and a sturdy, rural, Protestant work ethic. Such are the best laid plans of mice and Moms.