The First Time I Heard Little Big Town

I turned on the car radio, and I heard these lyrics. “… One thing I know, no matter where I go, I keep my heart and soul in the boondocks …” I thought, someone’s singing about living in the boondocks? I love it. I turned the sound up.

I flipped the blinker on and made a right to my in-law’s house where my daughter waited to be picked up. I sat in the driveway a minute, soaking in the words, feeling happy to have found my people.

“It’s where I learned about working hard. And having a little was just enough. It’s where I learned about Jesus and knowing where I stand.”

I hummed along, thinking about riding country roads on my red bike, often at sunset. I thought of crickets chirping and tall grass moving in the ditch. I thought about the quiet when I’d park my ’79 Chevy Malibu, get out, and stare at the stars. I thought about feeling full. Satisfied. Knowing I had my whole life ahead of me. About how I was in the Midwest, out in the boondocks, yet I felt connected to the whole world.

I liked growing up with corn and soybeans. I like being the daughter of farmers, hard-working people who sweat and swear and never, ever quit.

Little Big Town sang, “You get a line. I’ll get a pole. We’ll go fishing in the crawfish hole. Five card poker on Saturday night. Church on Sunday morning.”

We didn’t fish. We went water skiing. We went to town to play t-ball. We swam in the local pool. We did not play poker on Saturday. We met on gravel roads and drank Miller Lite from cans under a black night sky. But we went to church on Sunday mornings.

“You can take it or leave it. This is me. This who I am.”

As a kid, I’d spend a week each summer at my cousin’s house. She lived in a suburb at the end of a cul-de-sac. We’d knock on the doors of affluent friends’ homes to play in their pools and jump on their trampolines. Back then I wasn’t confident in my place in the world. My cousin would introduce me: “This is Carey. She’s from the farm,” her tone telling me the farm was not a perk her friends would think really cool. I felt shame. I kept it quiet, packed it up with my duffle bag when I went back home.

When I married my husband, I wanted to move to a bigger city, one with a skyline and inter-state freeways and opportunities to dabble in theater. Instead we found a house near his work in town of 50,000. No skyscrapers here.

Making that decision meant I would most likely never run into Jimmy Fallon at a restaurant or become a writer for a sitcom like Friends or Modern Family. It also meant I would most likely never become a farmer.

It is now home to me, this town. Students from around the world attend our university, yet in the scheme of the whole United States, it is still a remote place to visit. The culture here is blue collar, practical. Ritzy restaurants have opened and closed. We have theater and art and coffee shops, but wanna-be actors, travelers, and presidential candidates don’t even see our dot on the map.

Our house was built in 1906; it’s surrounded by old trees and rickety sidewalks. I can bike to the library. My kids can walk to school. I am a thirty-minute drive from my parents’ farm. We picked this house because of wood floors and a cozy nook off the kitchen and a basement apartment. But we got more than that.

Abundance is here.

Like when I gather with my family over fresh bagels on a Sunday. Or when my ten-year-old daughter makes a homemade card that says, “I’m thankful for you.” Or when our neighbors who’ve grown into good friends sit awhile over a beer. Together, we’ve carved pumpkins. We’ve told scary stories around backyard fires. We’ve taken care of each other’s kids.

I sang along as Little Big Town repeated the chorus, “I feel no shame. I’m proud of where I came from I was born and raised in the boondocks ….”

I shut off the car and rang the doorbell to my in-laws’ home. My daughter hugged me around my legs in a happy greeting while my new favorite song “Boondocks” resonated in my head.


Here’s is the song that inspired the name of this blog.

This post is a kick off to the month of NaBloPoMo with BlogHer.


2 thoughts on “The First Time I Heard Little Big Town

  1. Thank you co much for sharing! I’ve never really loved that song (despite being born and raised and currently living in the boondocks) but your take and insight made me rethink that. 🙂


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