As a true southern girl, I love the ocean and everything about it and when two years ago my husband called me from deployment and told me we were moving to Kansas, I told him he was crazy and that didn't the Army know he was a Marine?!?! Well it was no joke and a couple of months later we were packing up and driving to the midwest. Although, I was not sure of what to expect, I knew that my husband, Marine, and family would be together for our very first non deploying tour and after doing 5 deployments, we met the new adventure with a lot of anticipation. To much of my surprise, the part of Kansas we were living in was very hilly and had lots of character similar to my old faithful town of Beaufort, SC. The only thing missing was the ocean and seafood. I have to admit, it took me a little getting used to, but living there became a new family favorite. We made friends that would last a lifetime and made memories that will forever bring a smile to my face.
It was there in Kansas that I began to understand and appreciate the beauty of Fall. I have always loved the Fall season, but now when I see the trees change colors, I think of a beautiful Army Post and the trees that circulate the ponds there. When I hear my children skipping down a lane, I can hear the pebbles they skipped on those same ponds. For every crisp apple comes the taste of homemade apple butter. Large corn fields full of corn, pumpkin fields with the biggest pumpkins I have ever seen and big green tractors and cowboys that would melt any city girls hearts!
For our family, this small town gave us a gift of family. It was a place where time well needed was spent. If a hand needed to be held it was held. There was time to celebrate and a time for sorrow. It was a place where dates were often, and two parents were at every school/sporting event! The church pew was filled by a complete family. Prayers were lead by the leader of our family every night at the dinner table and at other times. It was a place where we began to understand how much we missed one another and how to realign our priorities. Living there has always been a college joke of "the best year of your life" and with all joking aside, we can now say that was so true! It is a place where a Marine can put down his weapons and pick up his baby girls. It is a place where in November for veterans day patriotism is served better than anywhere else I have ever lived at a little local school called Macarthur Elementary. It is a place where daily chaos is slowed down by the passing of a train. The nights are filled with cool evenings, lightening bugs, and sound of trains passing in the night.
The other day, a friend asked me if I was okay because I seemed a bit quiet. Which if you know me, it is a rare occasion. I later told her that I was dreaming of other places to be and I knew from the outside view that would seem so strange. But, for me it is a place where in these next few months my mind will hold tight to. When we feel alone and need those hugs, we will remember the days we had our Marine there and the kisses he was able to give every night. It was a place where bitterness was lost and since of unity was restored.Every now and then in this big city of San Diego, you can hear an occasional train sound. And recently, this happened while driving home from gymnastics and my girls say, "mama what is that I hear?" and I say it sounds like a train and for a moment a silence filled the car and finally a sigh comes followed by I miss that place and I tell her baby girl we all miss the midwest and that one and only other sound that can soothe our souls better than a ocean wave and that is a howling train!!!!