Tag Archives: home

Home

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?

Where They Have To Take You In

Hours in a car with husband and boys, for the most part lost in their own thoughts. Days with loved ones in a place familiar, but different. Hours in a car coming back. Home. Going over the river and through the woods brings such excitement, and leaving brings a pang of loss. But home, despite its flaws: stale bread on the counter, scads of laundry piled up upon arrival, cat throwing up with joy at our return, is a relief. It is little things, like knowing the contents of the refrigerator and how the remotes work, and it is big things, like the bed that has conformed to your body and the neighbors who have let you into their lives. It is the comfort of leaving the salsa bowl on the coffee table indefinitely or slipping your brassiere off at 6:30 and not caring who might notice. Away is hospitality and delicious, excessive eating and conversation. Home is work to be done, temptations to be overcome, and that nagging sense of some impending forgotten oops, but the work, the temptations and even the oops are all mine. Home, sweet home.