Monday, November 28, 2011

Going Home

"When I want to go home, I'm goin' mobile" - Roger Daltrey.

So it was with a head full of chaff on a mid-November Saturday that Your Humble Narrator veered the Batmobile onto the General Jubal Early and ventured  across the mighty Potomac into rural Maryland. It was a fine day and the wayback machine dial whirred to a stop at the year: 1965.

I thought of my childhood as I drove toward the house my father built and I (arguably) grew up in. In his mind, it was to become an eternal family compound. A place where one could go and find respite in the forest.
A place of substance.

I'll always remember the crickets on summer nights as we slept with the windows open. The balloon races across the screened porch as the storm front roared through, the balloons carefully weighted to drift between floor and ceiling. Building - model cars, basements. Fixing things. Learning to paint and draw. Bike riding. Playing in the creek. Sledding and Christmas caroling.

Sure, a lot of bad stuff went down there. But time has a funny way of pushing those things to the back of your mind if you're lucky. Sure, it became less of a home as my Dad accumulated and ruminated over 30 years of bachelorhood. Nothing a few hundred hours of effort and 4 rolloff dumpsters couldn't cure.

After his death the house was sold and sat vacant for over a year. And then, as I rounded the curve in the road, there it was:

The trees I know my Dad hugged had been cleared.
But I noticed with some satisfaction - the foundation was still there.

It is said that Home is where the heart is. Close your eyes, and remember the good times. And if you're lucky enough to still have family around, let them know you don't take them for granted. Happy holidays.

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