Thursday, May 31, 2012

Returning the Cinnamon

Yesterday, I went to lunch with my cousin/friend Shann. She arrived at the house and waited for me in the car. Bounding out the front door, I greeted her and stepped to her open window.

Morning Sun Through Villa Rica Pines
We exchanged compliments, each finding something worth a shout-out, the norm between us two. Then she followed hers up with an "I'm so glad you're back here, and that you're my friend!"

To which I heartily agreed, saying, "And I return the cinnamon."

Giggling, I corrected myself. "Sentiment, I mean. I return the sentiment."

Driving to Phat Phil's (me in my car, she following), I felt a surge of love and connection. It was one of those perfect spring days in Northwest Georgia, sunny and warm, but not too warm. A perfect, low-humidity type day.
Villa Rica Main Street at Sunset

We drove down North Avenue, past the site of the old hospital (now a parking lot for the new), past Junior Food Store and through the 'projects' that have been there for as long as I remember. A family friend lived there growing up and, with pride I noted that it is still as well-kept as it was back then.

The Old VR Movie Theater, Now Cinema Tavern
On to Old Town Road through Fullerville, past my friend Shelia's mama's house and the baseball park. I spent countless hours in both places as a youth: hanging out, sleeping over, inventing things in the kitchen. In my mind's eye I see little usses jumping the ditch playing follow-the-leader. My mouth waters remembering green plums plucked straight from the tree.

By the time I made the outskirts of Villa Rica, I was bursting with it. It welled up inside and I watched myself with awe and wonder as all those feelings tumbled out in a shouted, "I LOVE YOU, VILLA RICA!!!!"

What has changed? Everything. And yet nothing.

Bugsy, At Home in Villa Rica
Only me. Well, not so much me as my mind. My mind has changed. I now see a place of beauty, love and community. I see a place where I belong, a place I want to belong. That is what has changed.

So. Villa Rica. Thank you for giving me a beautiful life, both then and now. I am home.

And this time, I can return the cinnamon.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There Inside My Mind

For my sister, who's in New York City on vacation and saw Phantom on Broadway last night.

Cherry, this is for you!

~ Olivia J. Herrell


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