Sunday, January 29, 2012


“Mama, I like pooping at home best” said one of my children after a satisfactory trip to the bathroom following a holiday visit with the relatives.

Maybe this is too much disclosure for my inaugural blog post, but I couldn’t agree more.

To me, the idea of "home" meets three specific needs: it is a place that offers space, acceptance, and comfort. In many ways, my current home offers me these three things to a greater degree than any home I've ever had in the past. It is the place that I crave when I am feeling upended, tired, or unready to have even one more conversation. Maybe it is because these needs are met so fully in my current space that I find that I do not crave the home of my childhood. Sure, I’d like to feel the velvet green wall paper, or hear the door slam on the Sherman Street house (it hit such a satisfying note when it was closed). And I would like to sit in the south windows of the Grainland Road house and let the Nebraska afternoon pool around me. But I don’t crave it. I feel at peace with the fact that that is a world now gone and I find comfort in the one that surrounds me. For me, going home simply means opening my kitchen door and crossing the threshold. And although it doesn’t offer the element of “return” and the perspective of time that visiting my childhood hometown allows, it is the place in this world that I crave more than any other.

Friday, January 27, 2012

aphorism - music that defines you

If you could pick a "theme song" what would it be?  The White House residents get "Hail to the Chief", Bob Hope got "Thanks for the Memory", Billy Joel "Piano Man", Sinatra "My Way" ... what would yours be?  What song defines you?  What lyrics hold the most truth for your life today?

The song that resides most comfortably in my daily internal soundtrack is, "Hard Believer" by First Aid Kit.  I'm outing myself here as being non-religious, which is certainly an unpopular thing in the popular media this election season (though increasingly common and open in modern society, strangely).  The melody of the song is simple, the accompaniment sparse (solo guitar and a bit of piano).  The words, though, grab at me almost as well as the amazing "Defying Gravity".

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

sufferance - Wordless Wednesday

sufferance:  passive permission resulting from lack of interference

Monday, January 23, 2012

wistful - you really can't go home again

That old truism, "You can never go home again" is never more expressed than at the winter holidays.  The "home" referred to is such an elusive beast, both physical and rhetorical, with a dash of nostalgia for good measure.  In my rural childhood, my grandmother was most thrilled (in a busy, overburdened sort of way) when her whole family was "HOME for Christmas".  She meant, of course, that 16 people would travel between 10 minutes and 10 hours from their own street addresses, stay under her roof, play Canasta, attend a candlelight service in their childhood church, and open late-night presents in her living room.

First Trinity - where at least 3 generations are buried.

Bring the younger 9 of those people into adulthood and sprinkle them across the continent with their own responsibilities, families, and schedules, and things begin to shift.  Subtract the grandmother, then the grandfather, then even the big old farmhouse, and what becomes of grandma's home?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

halcyon - never the same river twice

Thanks, DB, for launching this blog and inviting me to be one of the voices here. I'm up first in a series of posts examining a single theme from four perspectives. Our first theme, inspired by our travels over the recent holiday season, is "Home," with emphasis on the notion that you can't go home again. I'm eager to read my fellow bloggers' take on this subject, especially since we grew up in the same Nebraska town and three of us still have parents living there.

Most people can, of course, go home again. The truism that says otherwise is less about the physical place than what we expect to find there. It applies to people like my dad, whose hometown was the Mayberry of North Dakota. Even Mayberry evolved, and my dad's homecomings are a bit like Barney Fife's few appearances in the color episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. It's the same show, but it feels completely different with new writers and an altered cast.

My homecomings are more like Denise Huxtable's return to The Cosby Show, except I haven't traveled to Africa (or eloped with Lenny Kravitz) in the interim and I'm not likely to move back in with my parents—though in weaker moments the thought has crossed my mind, if only to increase the ratio of adults to children in my home. Some things have changed since I left home—new furniture, different neighbors, a remodeled bathroom—but I can still rely on the same common sense and comedy bits with my dad's old music playing in the background. Based on the Cosby Show's portrayal of home as family, as well as Mayberry's representation of home as a broader community, remarkably little has changed back home.