The reality would've been extreme heat, or ice storms, depending on the season, no bathroom or shower to clean up in, and a persistent fear of where the next meal is coming from. Because when you can't afford a roof, food isn't guaranteed.
I'd like to think grandpa might not have realized some of that at the time, since his mama probably tried to shield him from it. But poverty is hard to ignore when you're living it.
|She pressed into him, grinding sand further into places|
it was never meant to go. But he didn't notice. He was too
distracted by the boys splashing nearby, and their
snickered comments about "boobies."
I wish I could have met her.
I spent the last year addicted to historical romances. They've got the best gowns. But when the heroine swishes into the packed ballroom wearing shimmering silk and a culturally improbably independence, and the titled hero spots her from across the room and slides between couples, unable to resist seeing up close the way candle-light gleams off her hair and those bewitching eyes, a small voice in the back of my brain says, "yes, but they both smell like BO, as does the rest of the packed party, and she's probably pitting out in her silks. Of course with the limited light sources, maybe that's not obvious. And I love me some strong heroines, but sass probably didn't go over quite that well with men who were raised to literally believe God made them better than everyone who wasn't aristocracy, and most of the people who were."
|Their lips met first, then their teeth. They both giggled a|
bit awkwardly, but in for a penny...He slid his arms around her
pulling her close. As her fingers drifted through his soft curls,
she whispered, "Is that a tick?"
As a romance writer, I'm not opposed to idealizing things in story. I don't want to think about Scarlet O'Hara's BO, or Jamie Fraser's morning breath. The good guys always get the bad guys, and the last word. I don't want my own stories, set in the South, to include the tang of bug spray and the way mosquitoes hover just beyond its reach looking for that one little inch of skin you missed. Nobody gets dandruff or snotty colds. Because the point of most stories is to escape those things, and indulge in a dreamy adventure.
The problem is when the idealizing doesn't stop at novels and enters my real life because its a setup for recurring disappointment. If I pull out the Hallmark channel moments of Christmases past, and wrap them in golden cellophane, then every Christmas after is not quite as good, and I can't figure out why. Because if I've forgotten the things that didn't go splendidly, I can't make changes to address them. Same goes with birthdays, and chocolate cake. I spend my time trying to make the people and places around me be what I manufactured in my head, and then when a pecan tree isn't a tree house, life feels overwhelming, unfair, and disastrous. Why can't I get it right?
But those moments were beautiful pieces of a whole experience. The tiffs or boredom that slivered the laughter happened too. And if I can figure out why, next time I can make plans or changes--or even just bring my expectations back down to earth--so the holiday is more enjoyable. And while that cake was lust-inducing, this piece is delicious too. (And it's here, which makes it instantly wonderful.) And though great-grandma couldn't have changed her pecan tree story on her own, the reality of it makes me see how strong she was and how diverse grandpa's life has been.
|Aw, and this is the real thing right here. True love.|
(And I'm going to assume the soldier is super hot.)