Life in the country is much different than life in the city. I was raised in the Trinity Alps of northern California, but as all children do, I longed to live the exciting life of a city dweller and when I was old enough, I did exactly that. The lights, the traffic, the sirens, the pollution; it was heaven. I didn’t even need a car because there were buses that would take me anywhere I wanted to go. And of course, I wanted to go to the mall.
I had only been in a mall once before, and that was when I was about twelve. My parents took us to Portland, Oregon, to the mall and my brother, sister, and I had never seen such sights. There was an ice skating rink, and being just before the Christmas holidays, the mall was decorated with lights and displays like nothing we had ever seen. I remember running around in circles, squealing with delight and screaming for mama and daddy to come look. My parents were horribly embarrassed but I didn’t know it at the time. I just knew there was a whole new world I’d never known existed.
So when I lived in the city I spent a lot of time in the malls, especially during the holiday seasons and I still felt that little flutter of excitement just like I had all those years ago at Lloyd Center Mall. But as I grew older and had children, I found the city less and less to my liking. Times they were a-changin’ as the song says, and by the time my oldest child reached high school, there were armed guards on the school grounds, video cameras in the halls, and fences with locked gates all the way around the campus. The problem was I had to work in order to support my family and that meant compromise, so we moved back to the area where I had lived as a child, but to a nearby small town where I could also work and the schools hadn’t yet experienced the violence city schools had. But that day wasn’t far off, and there was yet another choice to be made. Fortunately, my work in the prison system had allowed me to receive a certification for assessing offenders and I was able to work out of my house and home school my children at the same time.
Eventually, as all children do, mine grew up, moved on and moved out. So now I had one more choice to make: Where did I really want to live? I longed for the quiet, the solitude, the peacefulness of the mountains, so we bought ten acres in a wilderness area, built a house and moved. No sirens, no traffic, no people, and thankfully, no mall. Funny how life experience can bring us back to the very place we began, no matter how far we think we’ve strayed. Home is where the heart is and my heart has always been in the mountains. I’m wonderfully happy now that my home and heart are both in the same place.
Rie McGaha is the author of several books ranging from erotic romance to paranormal, fantasy, historical, and and suspense. She also produces book trailers, works as a freelance editor, is a review editor, and promotes other authors on her blogs Sizzling Releases, An Author's Tale, and Author Offerings. She is the mother of 12 and her 26th grandchild is due in October. She rescues abused animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find new homes for them. In her spare time she likes to garden and shoot weapons.