Home Sweet Home
“There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!” Dorothy exclaimed as she tapped her ruby red shoes together. Dorothy wanted out of Oz with all its wonder, excitement, and strangely wonderful people and creatures. The land of Oz left her head spinning and a desire to return to the place she knew best—Kansas. She wanted to get back to the places she grew up visiting. She wanted to return to the place that brought her peace and happiness. Most of all though, she wanted to see the people she loved the most. She wanted to go home.
Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to get away on a little vacation. We took a trip to my old stomping grounds, the Hill Country. We started by spending a day at Schlitterbahn waterpark in New Braunfels. Now I have been to Schlitterbahn numerous times and can say that it is by far my favorite water/theme park ever. As excited as I was, my daughters were even more thrilled since this was their first visit to a place like this. They were so excited I was surprised they slept the night before. I will not go into all the details of the day, but I will say, we had a blast! That night back at the hotel I told Ashley, “I’ve been to Schlitterbahn a lot, but this by far was the most fun I’ve ever had there because of those two (pointing to daughters).” The next day brought a trip to downtown San Antonio and a visit to the Alamo, followed by lunch at 2M Smokehouse, a BBQ joint (If you know my love and passion for BBQ this should not surprise you). The day ended at The DoSeum, a children’s museum that had a ton of hands-on activities and exhibits. By the time we pulled into my aunt and uncle’s driveway in Kerrville we were exhausted and ready to crash.
After two days of fun, excitement, and busyness we were ready for a day to take it easy, which is exactly what Saturday brought us. I was happy to be back in the town I grew up in. I was glad we didn’t have big plans for the day. It allowed us to take it easy. We drove by my high school, which is now the middle school; we drove by my middle school, which is now the sixth-grade campus. I saw old friends’ houses that I hung out in growing up. We followed a pack of deer through a neighborhood and ended up at the city park. Here my daughters and I rented a canoe and went swimming in the river just like I used to. However, my favorite part of the day was eating supper with my aunt and uncle. As food was being enjoyed, stories were told, and laughter filled the air. Memories of loved ones who passed were shared and smiles were brought to the faces of those who remembered them. It was a great evening of food, laughter, and family.
As I was loading up the truck Sunday morning so we could come back to Abilene, I found myself reminiscing and pondering. Ashley noticed something was on my mind and asked about my thoughts. “I miss it here. Part of me is always at peace when I come back home.” As we loaded up to leave and started our trip back, I was sad. Maybe it was because we had an awesome time and I didn’t want it to end and have to return to the daily grind. Or maybe it was because I didn’t want to leave the area that I called home for the first half of my life.
However, it was interesting as we started getting closer to Abilene, I found my heart and soul becoming happy and joyful. Now it could have been that I was just ready to get out of the truck and be at the house, or maybe, I was ready to be home. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but Abilene has now become home. When I take a moment to stop and think of my home, it is not filled with different places and things. My mind, however, fills with people that I love and care for. It is filled with memories that bring me joy. It is the place where I feel secure and safe. Even though Kerrville and the Hill Country will always hold a special place in my heart; Abilene has now become all those things for me.
Now I am not naïve, I know that home does not resonate with others the way it does with me. For some, home is a place that they try to get away from or avoid as much as possible. Homelessness is a real issue. While on vacation I met a man named Michael at the Taco Cabana in Boerne. You could tell he was homeless, and he was just trying to find a shady place to get out of the heat. We sat at the table right next to him and shared some water and tacos and found out he was trying to get to Colorado Springs because that was home for him. He said he was trying to get back to the one place in his life that he felt he belonged. He was trying to get home. For Michael, home wasn’t a place. It was a feeling that he was trying to get back. He was tired of looking over his shoulder. As we finished our meal and went our separate ways, I wished there was more I could do for him. Everyone deserves that feeling of home. To have peace that they belong and are accepted. For safety and security that everything is going to be alright. That is why I hope that everyone who walks into our place feels a little at home here.
I believe Dorothy had it right, “There is no place like home.” No matter what home is to you.