Dorothy said it at the end of “The Wizard of Oz:”
… and it’s that if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.
And, of course, she said,:
Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home. Home! And this is my room, and you’re all here. And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and – oh, Auntie Em – there’s no place like home!
i think i know how Dorothy felt. But it’s a little more complicated than that. Of course, Dorothy didn’t know. After all, she was just ten years old when the tornado whisked her away to Oz.
My problem is figuring out exactly where home really is.
i left Lebanon for good in 1967. i was 23. i knew about as much as Dorothy did about this “home” stuff. Since sometime around Dorothy’s age, i wanted to go elsewhere, the big city, the big football stage, Hollywood to star in oaters, far away, big big big, mix with the glitterati. Home was restrictive, strait-laced, lot of church stuff. Going, going, gone as Dick Shively would scream into the microphone at Sulphur Dell when a Nashville Vol would homer.
But not gone, and certainly not forgotten. Sulphur Dell. The Nashville Vols. Home.
And there were others, but none quite captured the original. Then through consequences of making choices, hoping they were the right thing to do, there were a few years when home became something just out of reach. But then, reconnections with folks back at the original home and friends in many homes across the length and breadth of the country brought back serenity. Through classmates at various stages of my life and my kin i was taken back to home of my heart, yes the heart of Tennessee. And in this season of peace, i went back, not to the original, but a place that feels like the family home used to be. Peace on earth, good will toward men.
This all occurred to me when i was back on Signal Mountain. My parents weren’t there, but i remembered their joy and love, just like home.
But you know what? l came back home. Home for 27 years, more actually since home is with Maureen, and we are working on thirty-five years of home, twenty-seven in this one. The flight schedule was brutal, up around 3:30 eastern, flight at 6:30 to that small chunk of concrete in the middle of Texas they call DFW, an hour wait, then another three-hour flight home, ten hours of day brutalized to arrive at 10:30 A of insanity M.
As i unpacked trying to expedite a long nap, it struck me. Yep. There is no place like home.
Warm enough for roses, cool enough for an evening fire. There’s no place like home.
But i still miss my other homes.