When I refer to my heritage as one of the reasons I’m drawn back to Ballyvaughan, I’m talking more about my rural heritage. You see, I came home from the hospital in Austin,to my grandparent’s farm in south Texas and continued to live there for several months. My Daddy was enrolled at Baylor Law School and would commute down to the farm on weekends. And, even after I stopped living there full time, I spent lots of time there with my beloved grandparents—Nana and Bampa.
I called the cows with my Bampa; rode with him on the combine, tractor and his red pick-up truck; “helped him” pick cotton at a very early age and even got to ride on the back of the trailer, pilled high with cotton, to the cotton gin. I collected eggs with my grandmother; “helped” her churn butter, bake bread, and cook all sorts of delectable foods from scratch. Bampa taught me to play dominoes at the age of 7 and then boasted to everyone that I beat him and “I swear I didn’t let her win!” I was always happy on the farm. The reason: I felt totally loved for myself, with few expectations.
So Ballyvaughan feels familiar; it feels like coming home. And most importantly, I feel loved and accepted as me—not as a Mother, grandmother, sister, chaplain, Deacon—just me. And as much as I treasure each of those roles most of the year, it’s so wonderful to return to my beginnings—my farm environment and just being me.