I lie on an old brown sofa that is covered in tiny nylon loops which should be scratchy but somehow aren’t, probably with a dog or two. We bask in a late afternoon sunbeam that slants in through the ground floor window. I am reading, or was reading, or am about to read. In another season, the wood burning stove might be radiating a blistering heat an arm’s length away, with a humming fan pushing the warmth toward the rest of the house, but in this memory it is summer. My mother or one of my sisters plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the old upright piano. The music literally fills the air, and then my lungs as I breathe it in, where my bloodstream absorbs it and carries it to all my cells. I am lifted, carried by it. The bench creaks softly as the pianist shifts octaves, a page whispers as it turns, a dog sighs with contentment. We listen for the sounds of Dad returning. A well-used dartboard hangs in mute challenge surrounded by dozens of tiny holes. The long wall on the south is paneled in yellow pine, and the brown vinyl floor, excellent for sliding on in socked feet, bears a repeating Moorish design. Bifold doors on the north conceal the treasures of multiple generations: books and toys and remnants of kits and tools that haven’t found a home anywhere else. More curiosities are stored under the lid of the kneehole desk Dad made. Into its sides he has burned the brands used by our ranching forefathers. The room smells of old books and sheet music, tooled leather, lemon fresh Pledge, and dog, with a hint of the medicinal, antiseptic and earthy aromas that venture in from Dad’s adjoining veterinary office. It is the music that always pulls me back though, if not the gravitational center, then at least the magnetic north.

The piano, the sofa, the dogs and the people are all gone or in exile now and the house is in others’ hands, but that moment, repeated with minor variations over and over throughout the first half of my life, is omnipresent. That is home, where I started and where, sometimes, I go to restart. No matter when or where I am, I can always return to that couch to drift in words and music and sunlight, surrounded by the presence, or imminent presence, or the remembered presence of people and love.

Thank you, Mom and Dad and Sisters. Thank you for giving me a home.

What moment or place do you go to, when you need to go home?

7 thoughts on “Home

  1. Carrie Rubin

    I’ve been sitting here, trying to think of an answer to this question, but I’m having a hard time doing so. I guess when I go ‘home,’ it’s to the place I am now, with my husband and kids at my side. 🙂

  2. kvalleryy

    I’m thinking–I remember that place! And I’m so glad you have warm and good feelings about it–I do, also! It seemed like the perfect place–and my favorite time is when you girls were young. I loved playing the piano (I don’t think I ever had the idea my girls would like those memories!), baking sweet smelling (and tasting) things, and making memories (like the house made from corral panels, or making mudpies in the windbreak). Thanks for reminding me of a blissful moment!

  3. Micheele

    I’d forgotten all about that old brown couch. I like your description of the vinyl floor — I still remember that one odd dent in it, that I think you or I may somehow have made… do you remember that? I think we used that as the place to stand when we threw darts — that poor wall! Love you, sis!

    1. lynnettedobberpuhl Post author

      I do remember that, now! Also, I remember you recording a cassette tape of you practicing the piano for me to listen to on my couch in my dorm room when I went away to college. You played Moonlight Sonata as one of the pieces and about two thirds of the way through you said (on tape) “Wake up, Lynnette.” Great stuff.


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