I’ve said it before, and I will say it again countless times: I’m weird. I pride myself in knowing that I am not “normal”, in a world where some try to fit inside society’s limitations. Is my peculiar personality any choice of my own? Of course. But I think there’s more to it.
I look to my mother and father’s personalities and for sure, see many hints of how I came to be the person I am. Coming from an art teacher and a businesswoman, I can see where my creativity and people skills have come into play. But I still wonder what in my family led me to be so fully accepting of myself and my admittedly strange attributes. I can only blame it upon something deeper in my family roots – my grandparents.
Though it’s not that unusual anymore, I still have a fairly unique family situation. That is, I have four sets of grandparents because I have both a mom and a step-dad, and a step-mom and a dad. Today though, I have decided to focus on one set only– my paternal grandparents.
Larry and Carol Ann Parker, the parents of my father, can’t even be called eccentric – it just doesn’t go far enough. My Grandpa Larry, a high school guidance counselor now spends his retired days shopping at garage sales multiple days a week, planning his high-school reunions, and collecting bowling balls.
That’s right. Bowling balls. He has a field full of, as best as he can estimate, over 1,000 bowling balls on wrought iron posts. It is certainly a sight to see, and has gotten media attention from the Kansas City Star as well as the newspapers around where he lives. Geo-trackers come from around the United States to see them, and anyone that wants, can come and place a ball in the field, and get a tour of the farm.
His wife, my Grandma Carol Ann, has learned to accept the strange happenings at the farm, and she has what some (meaning me) would call a “magic touch”. What I mean is, she can somehow keep things living for a long time past their prime. Her horse, a breed that usually lives to the age of 20, lived to be 35, and her dogs and cats all live into their late teens or early 20s. She also keeps gorgeous gardens full of thriving plants and has won first place in the Missouri State Fair twice for her baking abilities. She also dresses up in colonial garb and teaches spinning and weaving to kids in her free time. I wonder if anyone has guessed this amazing lady’s former occupation? High School science teacher turned felt hat maker. You can’t make this stuff up, people.
But it’s not just their occupations or hobbies that have formed me into who I am. It’s their constant acceptance and support that have let me be whom I choose, and for that, I will forever be in their debt.