Thursday, May 31, 2012

Returning the Cinnamon

Yesterday, I went to lunch with my cousin/friend Shann. She arrived at the house and waited in the car. Bounding out the 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, "And I return the cinnamon."

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

On the way to Phat Phil's (me in front, Shann following), I felt an enormous surge of love and connection. It was a perfect spring day in Northwest Georgia, sunny and warm, but not too hot. A perfect, low-humidity 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' where family-friends had lived. With pride I noted it is still as well-kept as it was back then.

The Old VR Movie Theater, Now Cinema Tavern
On Old Town Road through Fullerville, past Shelia Saul's mama's house and the baseball park. I spent countless hours in both places as a girl - hanging out, sleeping over, inventing foods 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 from the tree.

By the time I made the outskirts of Villa Rica, I was bursting with it. It welled up inside, the "detached-me" experiencing awe and wonder, as 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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