Coming Home Again

We got to Table Rock Lake Saturday night, just before dinner time. Well, our family’s dinner time, nearly 8:30 pm. We were welcomed by my mother-in-law, her husband Tom, her brother (Uncle Jim), and some big, juicy homemade cheeseburgers. We didn’t mean to get here so late, but the eleven-hour drive turned out to be a 13-hour drive, with two stops for a vomiting puppy, a long walk to stretch our legs at Elvis’ Birthplace, and three or four potty breaks. It was worth it though, as soon as we hit the familiar roll of the Ozark Mountains, we smiled our relief.

It’s been so long since we have been away from our house, I thought I’d be a little sad. Homesick, even. But no, turns out I was just homesick for this place, as the flicker of the lightening bugs on the freshly cut field and the starry sky soon reminded me. I’ve been away for so long, that I’ve forgotten how the stars look way out here, away from the bustle, away from the lights, and the sirens, and the stress of the city. You never know about going home. It can be nice, it can be tough, I’m usually ambivalent at best, but not this time. Not in the state we find ourselves. Things smell and feel different.

I hope you are all well today, and you are taking care of yourself and each other. But most importantly, I hope you get to go home again sometime soon.

❤️

M.

Cheese Caves, No Really

Here’s something that blew my mind today and I feel like I should share it with you all: Cheese Caves. Am I the only person in the world who lived on top of cheese caves in Southern Missouri and had no idea of their existence? That’s the real travesty here, that I was surrounded by cheese caves and never even knew it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, give me a second to sort this out, because you are learning with me in real time. Like, I know y’all think I’ve lost my mind, I’ve finally gone over the deep end, but there are actually caves full of cheese deep underground in Missouri (and a couple other places) and why is this not common knowledge? Or maybe it is and I’m just really behind?

You guys remember all those times I told you about “Gov’ment Cheese” well it’s actually real. And they store it in giant caves underground in Missouri. Maybe that’s why it has that particular taste? I think I said if you take a brick of Velveeta and put it in your shower for a few days, you can get that gov’ment cheese taste. Shit, y’all have no idea how accurate that was.

They store cheese in caves because, well, they can. The temperature and yeast and mold, lends itself to keeping the cheese alive. Is cheese alive? Is it dead? Certainly not. Anyway, in the 1920s the dairy industry was dying so the government bought all the cheese, and has been buying all the cheese ever since and now, even with the gov’ment cheese programs, we still have a cheese surplus. So much in fact, that the government pays people to advertise cheese. That’s one of the reasons we LOVE cheese so fucking much! So first the cheese caves came from necessity, like where else were they gonna store all this cheese? Then they realized the caves were good for the cheese and bam! Now Velveeta owns a 400,000 square-foot cave full of cheese under Springfield, Missouri.

That’s it, y’all. I can’t take anymore today. It’s not so much the cheese caves in general terms that is freaking me out. I mean, I think I sort of knew that cheese was kept underground? Maybe, like I’d heard it before somewhere. It’s the fact that I lived on top of one that is really getting to me. And I didn’t even know it. And I keep thinking I’ll investigate more about these cheese caves, but I’m honestly afraid what I might find. I mean, I love me some Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar, but what if I stumble across Trader Joe’s cheese cave? Or cheese basement? Or cheese socks? I dunno. I don’t have the capacity for that today.

But I guess if you want to do some of your own excavating, do it. Just Google “Cheese Caves” and let the internet astound you once again.

Stay safe and sane. That’s hard, I know.

M.