As a hard-working military man in his twenties, my father was stationed for six years at Fort Sill Army Base in the state of Oklahoma. My sweet southern mama gave birth to her two children in OK: my older brother, then five and a half years later, me. Though born in Oklahoma, my family's roots are planted much farther south. Less than a year after I was born in OK, our family of four moved back home to Louisiana. I grew up all over southern LA moving city to city, from towns outside Baton Rouge, to towns just outside the Crescent City. I have listened as my great grandma whispered secrets to me on how our family survived farm life during the Depression. I have laughed with my fourth-generation New Orleans native friends and compared accents, in disbelief that we were raised a mere 45 minutes down the road from one another. One sweaty August day before beginning my first year of college, my parents and I drove into the city as a last celebration before move-in day. That day in the market, I stumbled across a simple ring with the New Orleans water meter emblem stamped across a small silver circle. I have been wearing it ever since. Since then, I have traveled all over the country, spent summers working in different states, and even flown to live several weeks on a foreign island. In the midst of all my travels, I was able to glance down at this ring that represents my Louisiana roots and remind myself of home.
– Leanne Huffman