Woodville, Mississippi is a very small rustic town filled with small local businesses, run down flea markets, and lively stands on the side of the road. In this town, the nearest neighbor is a far as a mile away. The town is so quiet that the gravel is heard when a truck or four-wheeler is driving down the road, the crack of a branch is heard when a tree snaps and the trickling of water is heard when sitting next to a wide creek. My family has a camp in Woodville where we wake up at four in the morning to hunt deer and fish, and during the day, we ride four wheelers until we run out of gas. On Labor Day weekend, September 2nd through the 5th, My family and I drove the two and a half hours to Woodville to spend time together and to allow my older sister to rest before she continue continues her drive to Rustin. Conveniently, Woodville is half way to Ruston, Louisiana, making Woodville a great rest stop on the drive to Ruston.
On Labor Day morning, September 5, 2016, at five forty-five am, I wake up hurriedly by my mother. My mom wants the family to have our last meal with my older sister before she leaves. Tiredly, I fix myself a strong, bitter cup of coffee, and I sit down at the long, wooden table with my entire family for last time until Thanksgiving. The conversation drags on as my mother is recalling memories of when me and my sisters were little, my older sister is making a list of items she can not forget at the camp, my younger sister is snap chatting her streaks before she loses them, and my dad is buttering the drop biscuits he made for breakfast. I find myself staring out the window, and I am watching the love bugs start to cluster on the porch. Unaware of the motion around me, I am thinking about situations that are going to change after today. We will no longer be five people at restaurants, we will no longer take up half of the pew at church, and we will no longer have my older drive me and my younger sister to school. When I come back to reality, I see everyone rushing past me in a hurry. My older sister is running around the camp, trying to get everything in order. My older sister is packing her car, a gold Mercedes-Benz crossover, to its largest capacity. The car contains large plastic bins containing my older sister's entire wardrobe, a decorative bedding for her new bed that matches her roommates, and everything she will need for the next two semesters at school. Once my older sister is sure she has everything she needs, we all sit on the porch and treasure these last few moments as a full family. I am sitting on the swing with both of my sisters, and we are watching the sunshine on the small ripples of water in the large pond nearby. My mom and dad are both sitting in rocking chairs talking about which route my older sister should take to school, and they are discussing the next time we will see my sister.
Finally, the time comes for my older sister to leave. Everyone walks down the five steps from the porch and down the gravel road toward my older sister’s car. Everyone is very solemn, and no one says a word on the walk. I am focusing on rough gravel under my feet, the crunch of the leaves when I walk on them, and the damp grass wet from the morning dew, anything to keep me from thinking of what is to come. I never seen my dad cry except for this moment. Everyone has tears flowing from their faces not wanting to say goodbye. I am saying goodbye to my best friend, my younger sister is saying goodbye to a role model, and my mom and dad are saying goodbye to their oldest child. We each say goodbye with a hug, and we promise to call every week. Everyone is crying silently as we watch my older sister drive away to her future. We stay in the same spot until we can no longer see the dust that my older sister left.
No longer having my sister in the house has made an enormous difference. After my oldest sister left, everyone in my family grew up. My mom and dad realized they have a child in college now, and they are not new at parenting anymore. My little sister grew up because we are the only children in the house now, and she has started high school. Lastly, I grew up because as the oldest child in the house now, so I have to drive carpool, get groceries, and be more responsible. I never realized how important my older sister is to my family, and how much life was going to change when she left.