Just a Small Town Girl

Man, I have that amazing, karaoke song stuck in my head, "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world! Took the midnight train going anywhere... " Such a good song. Well, really I only know the first few lines... but it's good. In my head, it's good. It's good people.
Thursday Throwback
Speaking of small towns, let me tell you about one that is dear to my heart. Hemphill. This small, East Texas town is where my mom's parents grew up. They were both apart of big, 8 and 9 kid, families and have a long family history in Hemphill. My Papa Ted still lives there and my grandma and grandpa have a Lake House on the Toledo Bend Lake.
Word is I'm "kin" to everyone in town and about every time I visit, I meet someone who I'm supposed to know, who remembers me completely {because they met me in their 50's, when I was 2 or something}, but I have no idea who they are {because they're now in their 70's.}
"You know Sue! She's your cousin!" is a common conversation among me and my papa. There are lots of family members living there that I do remember. Great aunts and uncles who are dear to my heart.

All growing up Hemphill was a retreat for us kids. It was one of the one times we got completely away from stress and electronics. We just rested and practiced being kids. We loved four-wheeling through the huge pine tree forests and making up stories in the Indian graveyard. We would catch lizards to sell back home at the local pet shop for a $1 each and collect cicada shells (which we called locust shells).
Some of my best memories were made there. Like making mud pies the day after it rained, picking mulberries from the tree in the back, gathering black berries from the field and catching daddy long legs. We planted seeds, fished, shot bb guns, picked crops, ran around during fish fries, scuffed our knees, broke arms, got dirty and did all that stuff kids are supposed to do when they're kids.
When my brother, Justin and I, were little my grandpa bought us horses. My horse was a white horse named Baby and Justin's was a brown horse named Cocoa. I would go to school and tell people that I had a horse but nobody believed me. Early on, I learned how to ride a horse (but am by no means an expert or confident at it). I loved being around those horses growing up. 
We had a black goat name Blackie. He was awesome. He was never afraid of us and acted more like a dog than a goat. My brothers and I would trick him to look one way while we jumped on his back. As soon as we jumped on he would take off across the pasture. We were excellent goatmen. One time, I even saved a baby goat's life, by teaching it how & where to get milk from it's mommy.

 Still to this day, my Papa's house is one of the most relaxing places for me. I love sitting on the front porch of a house that was around when people still had front porches and rocking in the big old rocking chairs or swinging on the porch swing. I love taking a bath in the old claw foot bath tub and feeling comfortable in my own skin. I can just let loose there. And be.
My Papa is full of love. He is so gentle and kind. I love the smell of his old spice and the cigarette smoke left on my skin. It reminds me of him. He, still to this day, always has a candy bowel stocked with our favorite candy bars and the fridge loaded with Dr. Peppers, which he calls 'soda water,' and chocolate milk. Growing up, when we left for home, he would empty out his coin jar in a bag and give it to us. It was so exciting to count all the change on the way home. Between the 3 of us we would always get anywhere from $20 to $70! I love to play dominoes or yahtzee with my Papa and to spend time with him.
I love the simplicity of Hemphill. The slow pace and the way it draws me to Jesus.
I am so thankful for all my times there and all the times to come!
I am thankful for this small town. And Papa if your reading this, I love you! We can't wait to sit on the porch with you next summer when we're in Texas.


momto8blog said...

sounds fabulous!! simplicity is soooo underrated in our high tech society!
i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
i am going to be signing that song all day now!

lorrie said...

thanks for sharing those pictures and stories i like the ones in sepia nice touch, I grew up in small town in southern michigan and loved it

Analilia said...

Hi! Thank you for the follow and am following you back.

I love that song. I never knew about it until Rock Band and then WHAM! I heard it everywhere (ie Glee.) It's pretty catchy. Btw, I too don't know the rest of the lyrics. Ha ha!

Analilia|Ride The Spiral

Catherine said...

Awesome!! After the stories I have heard about your Papa, it's nice to see some pictures! It makes the stories that you have told easier to imagine! It makes me smile ~ Wish we could go there with you guys!!

Maybe one day!! ;)
Miss you my friend!

Carolyn said...

Great post, Heather! I understand what you say because a part of my heart will always reside there, even though I don't. I'm happy for your happy memories that you shared. Love you lots. Grandma C.

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