While this post could also be called “A Love Letter to a Neglected Home” or “Pants and Comb” or even, “Glad To See My Family and Friends, but…”, I didn’t want to limit myself to what I brain dumped. So, it a presently unedited (Okay, slightly edited) form, here is my take on how it feels to be home after extensive “being goneness” this summer.
After having the opportunity to go on a long planned European trip in early June, the “spending time with the roots” part of the summer travels followed. During our travels to the “colder” places of Europe, shorts were not really needed. In fact, I took two pairs and didn’t wear them once. So, when it came time to pack for a visit to the Midwest, I was only able to assume I would need 2 pairs of shorts. I should only need 2 pairs of shorts, right? The Midwest is north of Texas and my morning walks will not be hindered by sheets of sweat running off my body as I attempt to scare off any of the calories consumed during numerous social gatherings. It takes over 16 hours to get there, so it must be cooler there. As I lay the groundwork for the contradiction, you have probably already leaped ahead a few days….
During our trip, we spent nights in 4 different locations. The first location is where I realized the limitations I placed on myself. Due to a combination of excessive friction, extreme amounts of sweating AND a healthy diet of Mexican food, one pair of shorts decided they were going to “make a split”. While not the first pair of pants I have split, it was a reminder of the occasional cruelness able to be unleashed by a simple trip using a suitcase with limited dimensions. Fortunately, the patch for my pants provided some additional life to the shorts. The shorts were able to be juggled for the two weeks with frequent washings and frequent wardrobe changes. If my shorts had the ability to think, they likely would have known they would be moving to the “pile of misfit pants” when we arrived back home.
How could a simple comb make a 1,200-mile journey worthwhile? On our trip, I took one comb. It is not a space hog. It doesn’t cause a suitcase to “suck it in”. It is just a reminder of how, when traveling, space usually reserved for certain items is less a priority for some people than it is for others. (If you are one who has NO IDEA what “putting things in its place” means, your parents were much better at staying out of the details then I am able. And, you may lose things with some frequency…)
Despite the nuisance of it, my comb was kept in a bag. Every morning after my shower (This is not limiting me to morning showers OR to combing my hair at other times), I would comb my hair. The comb would be carefully removed from the bag. I would put it back in the bag when I was done. During the process of us hopping from house to hotel to house to hotel, the “comb bag” ended up in different suitcases. (This still was “organized” BECAUSE we had our “over-nighter” bag when staying in hotels. This kept us from hauling in all of the suitcases.) During one of our “stops”, my wife asked if she could use the comb. I agreed–she is my wife. When the comb had completed the straightening of her uppermost protein strands, she put the comb back. It was almost where it was supposed to go, but not quite. After a couple more borrowings and a couple more returns that were almost the same place where it was before its workout, the comb was acknowledged as being DITB (Definitely In this Bag). I trusted my wife. I knew at the end of our journey of 1,200 miles of driving, I should find my comb and be able to put it in its place.
This (as I edit this, it was a couple mornings ago) morning, as I got dressed in my house while standing in my bathroom with most of my clothes in my closet and a few waiting to spring out of the suitcase and assume their previous positions in a few rather unkempt dresser drawers, I realized how good it was to be home. I remember an old line from a 1980’s movie, “Home is where you hang your hat.” This seems to illustrate a person who has a more flexible definition of a home than me. To me, home is where there is bounty and where I can find my things. I don’t need lots of things. I just like to have my things available to me, and I like to know where they are at. And, as silly as it sounds, I have been smiling the whole time I am writing this. I like an adventure. When the adventure is over and it is only about waiting to go home, not even a whole day sitting in a car driving across 7 states and dealing with a few people who were not able to delay their accidents for just ONE day are able to wipe the smile of inner peace from my face.