The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. ~John Ed Pearce

My hometown of Paragould has been on my heart recently. With grad school consuming my thoughts and two part-time jobs ruling my weeks and weekends, it has been fairly easy to push the thoughts to the back of my mind and continue my day. It's funny how, after months and months of re-filing feelings in the back of your mind, they can still emerge in ways you never expected. You think you are fine and then out of nowhere comes this Mount Vesuvius eruption of utter ridiculousness; ridiculousness that could have been avoided had you just gradually acknowledged your weakness.

Today was one of those days.

Came in from work. Fixed my daily sandwich. Popped open an ice-cold Dr. Pepper.

Like any other day, I plopped myself on our Foof--an oversized bean bag-like creature that perfectly molds to your body shape--and decided to see what was on television.

I came across "Bride Wars," a romantic comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. I saw this once in the theater and forgot the underlying theme of childhood friendship and never forgetting where you came from. Had I remembered this part of the story, I may have avoided this viewing because of my recent homesickness.

...Instead, I inadvertently set myself up for a sob fest.

The two brides eventually come back together and put their stupid differences behind them; they are best friends, after all, who have been there for each other their whole lives. Their families have been together through terrible times, and many of their deepest joys overlap.

This immediately turned my thoughts to my childhood (and still) best friend, Bliss Rice (now's still hard for me to change it!) The credits rolled--and instead of their pictures being in my head, I began to have this slideshow of us as children.

...Riding in the back of her dad's truck listening to country music; road-tripping it to Memphis to see three *NSYNC concerts; creating our own home video called "How to Have Fun at Sleepovers." The list could go on for days.

The deep homesickness that I have been hiding for quite some time all seemed to come to the surface as the final song played and I became a sniffling, weeping mess. It soon occurred to me how deeply I miss my home. Though I felt as though I was finally over my parents moving to Searcy, it has become apparent that all the homesickness has not be eradicated.

The truth is-- I miss walking into 7th and Mueller Church of Christ and having people hug me and tell me how proud they are of me. I miss Coach Schatzley calling me "Ash" and cracking jokes about old times on the basketball court. I miss Floyd Landrum coming up and shaking my hand, laughing about the time I missed his hand and poked him in the stomach. I miss Sue Smith's smile and David Summitt's announcement about the church BBQ. I miss home church at the Garnett's and visiting with Anna, Morgan and the girls after. I miss sleepovers with Casey Schatz, Lori and Haven and Dairy Queen after Wednesday night church.

I miss Paragould-Tech games and must confess that I still hate the green and gold color combination when I see it. I miss Zack's funny phrases and Kenley's contagious laugh. I miss Kim's calming spirit and advice and Bliss's ability to make a great get-together happen. I miss Kelsey G's crazy antics and will never forget her single-handed conquer of a rose chandelier for our junior prom.

I could honestly name something that I love about each and every one of my Paragould family members; they have all inspired me and made me into the person I am today. It doesn't matter where I go from here; I will always look to them as the people who know the real Ashton.

I think that is why it is so hard to be away from where you grew up. No matter how many friends you make along the way, you still feel like they don't understand the underlying stories that make you you.

The reason I love quotes so much (as you have probably gathered from my blogs) is because they are able to capture exactly how I feel:

"Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule." ~Frederick W. Robertson

The chances of me moving back to Paragould are very slim; no matter where I end up, though, I will always carry with me fond memories of that place.

...My front porch swing overlooking Court Street
...TP-ing people's houses and getting caught
...PHS band trips
...The adrenaline rush of running out at the Tech game.
.........The list is indefinite.

If any Paragouldians are reading this, I just want to thank you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your support. Thank you for the unexplainable joy that you have brought to my 23 years of life. I miss you dearly.


Blogger Ronda said...

Wonderful memories...I am so thankful that they all got to be a part of your life and mine. I miss them too!!

February 3, 2010 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

now i'm a blubbering mess! thanks so much for that! you are an incredible writer ashton!! (must have come from your dad.. who by the way i never called ugly :P ) i miss your mom and dad and all the good times we all had in band.... and of course later on in nursing school when i found the "real teacher" of the family ;) i hope you all are doing well! miss you!

February 4, 2010 at 3:48 PM  

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