The Sidewalk and the Sound a Bookstore Makes: What I Wear

People already know I’m a country girl, not a redneck, not a belle. I do happen on a sidewalk now and then; in fact, I don’t even have to touch the grass to get to my car now. Shortest distance between two points, straight down the middle I’m smart, would rather be in the grass singing a song to myself.

13 years ago, I moved away, to town, and now I visit the square and buy the tall boots I wanted. I drink the froufrou coffee and meet with my under-surface country friends. All along we listen for the music that haunts like the woods in winter, the sound books make when they’ve never been opened.

The mall makes me happy dizzy like a party. A lot of people. The perfume cards rubbed to wrists. I confess that I try on the shirts that show my tattoo. The dangle of silver at ears, clicking heels to tile to bass, I’m thinking the skinny boys at Abercrombie and Fitch need to pull their britches up and grow some hair.

But I’d rather be in the middle of your yard sale, looking at your grandma’s jewelry and gloves. I’d wear her hat over one ear and that one big clip-on on the other.

The dust in the long bookstore reminds me of pickups without AC.  I think of taking out the trash with my daddy, making the haul up to the main road. I remember, too, taking out the scraps.

The country girls don’t have to be altogether unclassy, but they just won’t mind your trash. So much of it reminds her of bumpy rides and the dirty smell of sweet feed in a flatbed. Pothole straddler, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bottomed out.


Tunic:: Forever 21

Black  Legging Jeans:: GAP

Boots:: Steve Madden

linking with ladies, No Model Lady and The Pleated Poppy.

About me


Wild in the Hollow Book Club: an Introductory video
August 28, 2015
How Right Living Was My Brokenness: a guest post from Kelly Smith
August 11, 2015
Marriage Letters: On Home
July 06, 2015
A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
June 06, 2014
On Broken Parts in Regular Towns: Alabama, Arkansas, and Haiti
April 03, 2014
On Losing Place
September 05, 2013
How the Light Peeks Through
August 26, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: A Little Eden
March 13, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013


Reply September 14, 2011

You look ridiculously wonderful for just having had a baby. Seriously. :)

Reply September 14, 2011

Hot Mama.

    Reply September 14, 2011

    ERIKA! Tell me where you're from.

      Reply September 14, 2011

      Originally - Traverse City, Michigan

      Currently - New Haven, Connecticut


      Reply September 14, 2011

      More specifically though, I grew up on a farm and now live in the city.

Jessica Y
Reply September 14, 2011

I am from the country too. I almost feel more comfortable in the trash. I like the mall, too.

    Reply September 14, 2011

    You always make me feel normal - or at least not alone. :)

Megan at SortaCrunchy
Reply September 14, 2011

Oh, I'm from small towns surrounded by big country and don't I know this is truth? I've bottomed out in more potholes than I've successfully straddled. I think I learned to cuss driving country roads.

You are the most precious thing I've ever seen. To fit into legging jeans this soon after baby? My heavens, woman. You are somethin' fierce.

    Reply September 14, 2011

    Shoot. I'm not fierce. It's called SPANDEX - super stretchy and a few sizes bigger than my normal self.

    That's how I learned to cuss, too. One of my high school best friend wouldn't even bring her brand new camaro down our driveway. So funny.

Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies
Reply September 14, 2011

We have moved here and there, near and far, and my once-a-country-girl-always-a-country-girl self can't help but jump up and down over your truths here.

"The country girls don’t have to be altogether unclassy, but they just won’t mind your trash. " ~I'm gonna remember this little gem. You are the awesome sauce!

    Reply September 14, 2011

    I have a feeling that I would laugh nonstop if we ever get to hang out.

Reply September 14, 2011

I'm not a country girl, just a kid from the prairies. So even though the sounds and the memories are different, the ache is the same, isn't it?

Reply September 14, 2011

I wish you'da told everyone that I took that picture while we were on our way to...

wait for it...

a Huey Lewis concert. It was really good for 15 minutes, wasn't it?

    Reply September 14, 2011

    It's true. The heart of Huey Lewis is still beating.

Cassie Boorn
Reply September 14, 2011

You look AMAZING!

We are THAT family
Reply September 14, 2011

some girls get all the beauty.

Reply September 14, 2011

Love how you write and your outfit is adorable too! Have a GREAT day!

Reply September 14, 2011

Can I just tell you how much this makes me want to pull out the country girl in me?

I grew up moving..a lot...but always went back to my dad's hometown in South Carolina and stayed on his parents 20 acres...would walk through the woods, hop over creeks, eat watermelon on the back of Pawpaw's pick-up, and watching my uncles burn their fingers lightening fireworks.

My husband laughs, because I want to be a city and country girl all at the same time.

Reply September 14, 2011

You are too cute :)
That picture of you and your little in the bookstore... just beautiful.
I was born in the country... and it's in my heart no matter where I go. It's just there, in blood, you know?

Reply September 14, 2011

amber I love reading your words! you have such a tremendous gift. I bet I will be reading your books one day... God Bless!

Reply September 15, 2011

I'm a cowboy boot wearing country girl... When I'm not in boots, I'd rather be pounding the asphalt in neon running shoes or walkin' barefoot through the grass...

I've never understood the stores with the blaring bass and the cologne that makes you want to put a clothespin to your nose... I like simple things... Like a good pair of jeans, that fit... and a hoodie thrown over that trendy, cute, barely there tank top....

You're beautiful. My favorite thing you wear? That babe. :)

Reply September 15, 2011

I'm a city girl. I have great wide landscapes and camping trips and dirt roads in my heart, but I'm still a city girl. I do like garage sales and objects with stories. And there must have been a time when I thought hairless skinny boys were it, but that time is long past. I can't even go into an A&F store. I feel over-dressed and a little mind-controlled by the loud music and weird lighting. Give me anything else, any day, especially if that anything else is your words and how darling you look in these photos. ( When did you give birth? Yowza!)

Reply September 15, 2011

I'll always be a country girl at heart, too. Can't imagine living in town - seriously. My uncle who lives in DC took me to NY on vacation one year and while it was an interesting experience - being in the big city - by the end of the week, I was ready to go home. Sitting on the porch swing while the pink-orange rays of sun fall behind the field is the best feeling to me in the world. Love it.

tiffany day
Reply September 15, 2011

you are so pretty!

:) long time reader and first time commenting - yikes sorry for not saying hi sooner!

you truly inspire - appreciate your heart!


Reply September 15, 2011

My Grandma Pauline and Poppa JW lived in the country. I remember running from snakes in the hay barn, walking down the gravel road with a fishing pool over my shoulder, riding on the wheel cover of the tractor, falling asleep listening to the crickets. I love the smells that remind me of the country. I taught,and deeply loved, 5th graders in the inner city on the east coast. The dust smell that use to make me think of my grandparents house now takes me to my old classroom. I miss both.
Great post dear usual :)

Reply September 15, 2011

I'm so glad you kept that tunic!

Truly, you glow.

And oh how I woulda loved that concert...!

Reply September 21, 2011

I morphed at fifteen. My parents brought us all into the middle of nowhere, and now they wonder at the survival insticts that came out so strong in the reeling minds and bodies of their teenage children. The savage love of winter. How I was to never leave.

Stickshift - how I learned to swear. I knew the words, just all of a sudden they came together and made sense. And here I thought I was the only one.

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