I can’t really pinpoint one, single event that specifically changed me or shaped me. There were of course EVENTS that I’m sure were the results of much praying and discussion on the part of my parents: our little community church closed, we moved houses, we adopted my brothers, and we quit farming and moved across the state. I’m sure all of those things had a profound effect on who I am today, but I see myself as more a collection of everyday things rather any one event. Things like bright sunlight and tall plants, the sound of spray planes early in the morning, sandy sandwiches, dragonflies and hot sun, Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo, Fruit Loops and Looney Toons on Saturday mornings, crocheted swimsuits in the sprinkler, riding in the back of the pickup, baby pigs and clever mamas, leftover party snacks, eating cookies in the church basement, seeing Santa Claus at the Community Center after giving him my wish list in a little house near the mule in Muleshoe, the cacophony of Grandma’s house which was always full of kids, eating penny pancakes at Christmas and orange pushups in the summer, the taste of watermelon beside the brick fireplace, playing in the pit, bouncing up and down mountains in the Jeep, draining water hoses in the cold, pulling cotton trailers in and out of Twin Lakes, hating to clean the lint filter, practicing piano in the dark sewing room, reading by the twilight after bedtime, the coolness of the willow tree, snuggling all together in bed Mama and Daddy’s bed on Sunday mornings, dancing to Bob Wills in the carport, liniment and capsaicin capsules from the kitchen medicine cabinet, chicken pox on the pull-out couch, dancing to the Bee Gees in the living room, hunting for kittens in the little house, the smell of diesel and grease in the box car, the screams of Guinea hens, playing in the trees at Mema and Papa’s, hiding in the Mema’s wardrobe, hiding from spiders in the backseat of the car, the smell of damp, musty, spider-infested cellars, practicing the clarinet outside, spitting tobacco (brownie) juice just like Daddy, eating Fireballs at Aunt Jim’s house, picking up feed at the feed store, Papa ‘helping’ us with Dairy Queen ice cream cones, following pigs in the show ring, Mrs. Carlyle’s 3rd grade classroom, lying on the floor in the school library, keeping 4-H record books, being sick on myself during a movie at school, earning 1st grade reading prizes, kissing Steve Geries in the coat closet during 1st grade, being kissed by Scott somebody (Robbie Fly’s cousin) outside the band hall in 5th grade, finding ‘deer ears’ in Guy Dale’s flowerbeds, the sound of dominoes and laughter, the roar of well motors, the taste and coldness of well water, helping Daddy count rows and creeping the pickup along while he loaded pipe, the smell of corn harvest, eating supper on the tailgate in the dark, the coolness of tasseling corn, wheat germ chewing gum, … this list could go on and on. And honestly, I’m not very good at self-examination. I am who I am. Why bother with things that can’t be changed. Strive to make yourself better each day- that’s where my focus is. Having said that, I guess I should take a minute to thank my family for all of the above memories and a million more, ‘cause without them I wouldn’t have my awesome forward-thinking attitude now would I?!