The Cosmopolitan Country Girl

I didn’t recognize Tiffany Moseley when she made her first visit to the club.  It had been at least 15 years since I’d seen her, and she hadn’t been much older than that at the time.

These days, she’s a physical education teacher and coach, so that’s what we initially talked about.  Once the conversation serendipitously revealed that we’d grown up in the same small town and attended the same high school, she asked if I knew her father.

“You’re Tiffany Moseley,” I replied densely, feeling like a fool as I suddenly saw Kenneth in his daughter’s face.

In the old days, Kenneth and Gloria Moseley were two of my best professional friends.  They’d both been very helpful to me back when I was starting out as an education reporter, but I’d lost touch over the years.

So, over steaks in the dining room, she brought me up to date on her family, and we reminisced about the provincial rural Southern town we both still call home, where, while in high school, Tiffany was cheerleading captain and active in the FFA and 4-H clubs.

“I think I was once in the local paper seven times from front page to back,” she recalled with a laugh while sipping sweet tea with no lemon.  “That was the stuff back then.”

Tiffany and her siblings are the seventh generation of Moseleys to grow up on the family farm, a sprawling and picturesque 2,700-acre property near the Georgia-Alabama border.

“I remember going out there a time or two,” I said.  “It’s a long way from anywhere.”

“I know.  When you go to town, you make it worth your effort.  But I enjoy hanging out on the farm.  It’s pretty out there.”

She still spends summers there helping Kenneth repair fences, cut hay, and work his cattle.  “Daddy says I’m his number-one raker when it comes to getting up hay.  Of course, my sister has two kids and my brother is a chemical engineer who doesn’t get summers off, so a lot of times, I’m his only one,” she said, spearing green beans with her fork.  “But it still makes me feel good when he says it.”

Tiffany describes a bucolic childhood that included bicycle excursions with her cousin, lunching at her great grandmother’s house (where the bread pudding was made from leftover breakfast biscuits and children knew to be on their best behavior because “she could knock you into next week with her pocketbook”), and playing in the woods with her sister.

“You have to be creative when you live out in the middle of nowhere,” she said.  “There’s nothing like being barefoot in a mud hole making mud pies and trying to get your little sister to eat them.  She never fell for it that it was chocolate.”

I couldn’t help smiling.  The topics of conversation at the club are usually a bit more urbane, but even in her flower-print sundress and Western boots, Tiffany didn’t seem the slightest bit out of place.

“I suspect, though, that there’s a bit of the cosmopolitan in the free-spirited country girl,” I ventured.

“Oh, sure.  I love to go to New York, and I can dress up and class it up when I need to, but my favorite days are when I’m on the tractor and Daddy’s behind me on the baler.”



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