My roots go deep down into Georgia clay(Mom) and Texas gumbo(Daddy). That explains the shock to my system when The Professor, also a native Texan, uprooted our family and transplanted us across the Mason Dixon line. In fact, Son 2 was born in Yankeeland. I actually considered bringing a sterile bag of Texas soil with me to the hospital so he could be born "on Texas soil".
We spent seven years in central New York before moving here to Iron Acres in western Pennsylvania. In other words, our children have grown up yankeefied. Two have managed to fly south when they left the nest, much to our relief.
Living "where the water is red and the grass is green" has been fun and challenging, and not necessarily in that order. This city girl had never lived with a septic system and a well in the country. In coal country. I learned a lot about water pH, iron bacteria and the main components of municipal water treatment REAL quick. Can't tell you how many of The Professor's dress shirts were accidentally recolored orange before I learned to take them to the cleaners in town. (Contrary to popular belief, orange is NOT a neutral color.)
There is plenty of color of a different kind all around us in neighboring small communities. Amish farms with their white walls and blue doors are everywhere, along with Amish buggies, fields of haystacks in the fall, and teams of huge work horses.
But all this bucolic beauty belies a price. There are (shudder) aliens among us. Off the interstate, down a winding road lies a small, unassuming town named (dundunduh) Mars. Mars has all the typical unassuming earmarks of a small, typically unassuming community: a welcome sign, a library, a bank, a fire station.
But don't let the props fool you. Aliens live there.
When I was a child my family enjoyed Friday nights out at the drive in. I remember one feature in particular: the story of a typical, unassuming small town invaded by (dundunduh) Martians. One night a small boy witnessed an unusual flash. Then one by one the adults disappeared into a hole in the ground and returned with a suspicious thingie in the back of their neck. Now, adults can be pretty frightening in their own right, but add an alien technology implant and a zombie walk and you have the stuff of bone chilling, life altering nightmares. I think that film(and War of the Worlds) created a generation suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before the mental health field diagnosed it. And a profound fear of anything Martian. Except of course the Mars bar.
As I said, Mars is a small, typically unassuming town. But in the smack dab middle of that town is the truth that cannot be denied:
Aliens live there.