All through my adult life I have known there were options, if I ever needed to make a change and make it quickly. I could close my eyes and see my parents’ home on the farm, and know that in a matter of hours, I could be there. I could go home.
No matter what happened, the image of home hung in my mind, and I could face anything. Just knowing that helped me find ways to work through a harsh situation or painful reality.
|Built in 1860s, I think|
Home meant that my mother would be making a pie in the kitchen and my father would be pulling into the driveway on his John Deere tractor. We would sit at the kitchen table and talk, drinking cup after cup of coffee. Dad would tell a greatly embellished story which I had heard a hundred times, but my children would listen to it and laugh. He would sit with his long legs in front of him, and his feed cap tilted to one side, rakishly. My mom would laugh, and hold one of my children on her lap, helping him/her to eat that last piece of pie.
|Our old barn, wooden nails and all|
Home meant that we would sleep upstairs with the windows wide open. The silence would be broken only by a dog’s bark, or the sound of the hog feeders opening and closing. I would listen to the sounds an old farm house makes. I used to think that the old house would groan at night because its joints hurt; maybe they did. My children would be safe in bed while I struggled with the dilemma that sent me running home in the first place.
|North porch, Dad's boots|
|The old cistern and Mom's cactus|
But now I find myself in a peculiar time of my life. The place I always called home is gone. Gone. When my father retired from farming, they left the farm and moved into a nice house in town, near wonderful neighbors. The farmhouse was bulldozed away by new owners who built a modern home, and it won’t groan at all. The house in town, which held together the concept of home, is now up for sale, along with all the precious things that defined home for me. My parents are together in heaven, their new home.
So now my generation has the role as the keepers, the guardians of our own children’s concept of home. My home is the place they will close their eyes and picture at the desperate times of their lives, and feel a rush of relief. They can come home.
Now, I close my eyes and hear the sounds of my own home, enjoy the memories of my children running through the hall and eating my pie at my kitchen table. My home.