Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Over the years I’ve lived in seven different houses or apartments. All of them were home in one way or another. Some were ranch style, some were two stories, one which was the most recent was an apartment. Although the shape and size of each was different than the rest, they all felt the same because they were home.

Be it marriages, kids, family, neighbors, friends, parties, illness, or deaths, each occasion, each happening that occurred made that building, that place, feel more like home. So I guess the saying ‘Home is where the heart is’ is true. You take home with you no matter where you go.

The Terra, the new RV home for the Doodle and I, makes the eighth home for me. We’re three weeks into RV living and other than a few maintenance issues and one oops on my part, all has gone pretty well. Both of us seem to be adapting to waking and sleeping in the Terra. Our schedules and activities have already slowed to a calmer pace. There’s still been stress in making and breaking camp at each location and some anxiety for me in driving this 38 foot condo on wheels, but really for the most part, we’re doing well.

Case in point, yesterday morning. When pulling out of the KOA in Coshocton, Ohio, I had forgotten to lower the TV antenna on the top of the Terra. But no worries, a few of the stately maple trees along County Road 10 reminded me that the antenna was still up. There was a loud scraping noise and then leaves flying in all directions. I pulled over to inspect the damage and thankfully the antenna didn’t break and still worked great. It just shifted a little from the experience. And the trees came out just fine too, although a few leaves where missing.

Have you ever had an experience like mine? You forget to do something and that leads to an unexpected situation or problem? I would bet all of us have and most likely we all still do at times. Or perhaps it’s the other way. We do something, either intentionally or by chance, that causes discomfort in either our life or in the lives of those around us. I used to get angry at myself when I would put myself in these situations. How could I be so dumb! What was I thinking! Oops, I did it again! (Britney’s song just popped into your head didn’t it?)

Our experiences, be they good or bad, do cause us to shift a little. Sometimes we come away with just scratches and sometimes we loose a few leaves. Maybe we mend and maybe we don’t. Each experience changes us from who we were to who we are. Hopefully for the better but not always and that’s a truth I know about myself. How we live life afterwards is all up to how we respond to the shift, or scratch, or loss.

Yesterday was a wonderful day as I got to visit with some long time friends. Note that I did not say old friends. Age is just a number and its really how old we think and feel that matters. After the cold beers last evening, I’m feeling a little older this morning.

I had the joy of having lunch yesterday with six of the ladies from the Great 78. All of us were members of the greatest class to ever graduate from Coshocton High School. The Class of 1978. Yes I’m a bit bias but I really think we were the best class as we still have great relationships. Our class reunions every five years are so much fun and everyone that attends has a great time catching up. It doesn’t matter if we ran in the same circle or not back in high school.

The years have shown me and life has taught me that who we were then was just the beginning of who we are now and today our circles cross and over lap and blend almost into one at times. I’m so thankful for how my relationships with my classmates has deepened over the years and as such, I can now truly call everyone friend. Our reunions and get-togethers feel like home and for that I’m very thankful.

Lunch yesterday on the patio of the Old Warehouse in Roscoe Village was very nice. We talked about things currently going on in each of our lives. We talked about our kids and grand kids. We talked about our marriages, divorces, current relationships, illnesses, and deaths of those we loved. We shared some laughs and hugs and memories of the good times. Even a few tears. I felt honored to have been invited to join the ‘girls’ for lunch.

Last evening, I was able to meet up with more high school friends and one of my nieces and her husband at the Wooly Pig Farm Brewery near Fresno, Ohio. It was a beautiful evening sitting outside on the Pig’s patio enjoying their local brew and chatting for a few hours. The beer is really good and a nice selection for such a small brewery. But even better was the time we spent together talking and laughing about our past and current lives.

I hope to get home like this again during my journeys over the months ahead. I know I’ll take yesterday with me no matter where I go. It will be home.

Bon Jovi sang the song ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’. The last verse and chorus of the song, hit me last night as I was sitting in the Terra.

It doesn’t matter where you are
It doesn’t matter where you go
If it’s a million miles away or just a mile up the road
Take it in
Take it with you when you go
Who says you can’t go home?

Who says you can’t go back?
Been all around the world and as a matter of fact
There’s only one place left I wanna go
Who says you can’t go home?

Home is where you’ve been and it’s where you are. And more importantly it is a place you will always have with you. No matter where life takes you, in your mind and heart, you are home.

See you down the road my friends, see you at homeā€¦.

Front Porch Sittin’

It seems summer has come early to Central Ohio. Today, the temps were in the mid 80s as it has been for the past four or five days. Tonight there’s a cool breeze as the Doodle and I enjoy the front porch. That breeze also has the scent of rain so something is coming our way it seems.

Today was a really good day. Actually, the weekend has been very special.

Our family celebrated Mothers Day this afternoon to honor all the mom’s in our family. Three generations. This morning, our extended church family stood and affirmed our commitment to 10 young children being dedicated by their parents. Two were my grandchildren. That commitment of love makes my heart full.

Today was also my two-year-old granddaughter’s birthday and last evening we partied like a two-year-old to celebrate her presence in our lives. She and her little brother bring incomparable joy to my life.

And Friday night I was able to go with a group of friends to see a band perform the hits of Fleetwood Mac. One of my favorite groups from my youth. Music has always moved my soul.

So tonight while doing some front porch sittin’, I’m lingering in the stillness of the evening with a full heart, a joyful spirit, and a soul that is singing a song of gratitude and thanks.

Oh, how I wish my wife Barb was still here with us to celebrate these precious moments. They are the life events she loved. From the hanging out with friends to celebrating special days with her family, she deeply enjoyed times like these. And you know, I’m confident she did so this weekend.

I don’t really know if our loved ones, who have passed on, do have some heavenly view over our lives but I like to think so. Even though she is not physically present, I can sure feel her with us.

I felt her Friday night at the show and could visualize the two of us dancing away the night like we used to. She was with us last night as we enjoyed and celebrated the blessing of our granddaughter, and her spirit was with us today during the dedication of our grandchildren. Her joy tonight must be beyond abundant.

I find comfort in knowing Barb’s joy is abundant and complete. How awesome that must be. I can’t wait to experience it for myself some glorious day.

But for now, I remain here in this life. And I have to say it’s a pretty good one. I’m surrounded by family and friends that love me and one another. And with that love and grace, there isn’t any storm that can overcome the hope and joy I have.

So tonight I’ll leave the windows cracked and let the breeze blow in as I listen to the rain on the roof. It will give me peace. And there again I’m reminded of Barb and her love.

Peace to you my friends.

See you down the road…

And A House Is Not A Home

Or is it?

What exactly is it that makes the house, the apartment, the condo we live in a home? Is it the type of building? Is it the amount of time we’ve lived there? The experiences we’ve had there? Is it the people we have loved there?

I have lived in six different places in my life and I can say all of them were home. First with my parents in a small ranch. Then the first and only rental which was a house about eighty years old. Then the first mortgage with a cape cod, followed by a larger ranch, and then a two story three bedroom, and now the current two story four bedroom that Barb and I had built back in 2000. All have felt like home but for different reasons and for different seasons.

Growing up as an only child, my parents and I lived in a small three bedroom ranch on Walnut street in my hometown of Coshocton, Ohio. Yes, I was that stereotypical little spoiled snot that got almost everything he wanted. It was great and I can honestly say it has had no negative affect on me. At least I haven’t noticed any problems. Be quiet. You know who you are.

The house sat on a hillside which overlooked the town to the west. From our back porch, I loved to watch the thunderstorms come down the Walhonding valley lighting up the sky and shaking our little ranch when the thunder rolled. Mom would always yell at me to get inside but most times my dad was with me so we kind of ignored her request. The storms were just too good to not be in the middle of. I lived there through high school until I graduated from college.

The apartment was also in Coshocton and my first wife and I rented it for a year I believe. It was a cute old house with all the sounds and smells old houses come with. Some pleasant others not so much. As young newlyweds, we didn’t mind at all the shortcomings of the house. It was new to us and beautiful.

After that came the cape cod on Elm street. My first ownership and mortgage. Wonderful old home with great woodwork, much character, and wonderful neighbors. A great home to start a family in we thought and it was. Just not within my first marriage. High school sweethearts that married before really knowing each other well enough. But that’s a story for another time.

I was still living in the cape cod when I met my second wife, Barb. I think she might had fallen in love with the house first and then decided I was good enough to stay. Either way she had good taste. In homes and husbands.

We lived on Elm street for about three more years. We hosted some pretty great parties with great friends. Our Halloween costume scavenger hunt was one of them which is another story for another time. We watched the world premier of the Thriller video on MTV with the Lady Crusaders Basketball team which I coached at Sacred Heart. That was a fun night. Who knew a team of teenage girls could scream so loudly. And we celebrated the birth of our two beautiful daughters. It was a great home with wonderful memories that I think about often and cherish.

But the cape cod only had two bedrooms so soon after our second daughter was born, we started looking for a larger house and luckily found a really nice ranch home in Warsaw. Three bedrooms which were perfect for us and our two girls. The girls would each have their own bedroom. We were set. Then God blessed us with our son. The girls were still very young so sharing a bedroom wasn’t that big of a deal thankfully.

So in the ranch in Warsaw we began raising our family. That home was always busy with our kids, the neighbor kids, and the four to five other kids Barb would watch before and after school. All moms are superheroes in my opinion but Barb was the super-est. For the longest time, I could not comprehend how she cared for so many kids in our home without losing her mind. But now I know it was just who she was. A person with a beautiful heart that made a home of love. We spent close to eight years in the ranch in Warsaw before a job change necessitated a move. I still miss that home at times.

In 1995 we moved to Redlands Drive in Hilliard, Ohio. We bought a beautiful 10 year old two story home in a great neighborhood and again we were blessed with wonderful neighbors. I thank God for the friendships He brought into our lives in each neighborhood. Looking back, I can see the blessing in each move we made and I thank Him for that.

We stayed in the Redlands two story for five wonderful years but with it only having three bedrooms and the girls growing into their teen years, Barb and I decided for our own safety, that we better get a four bedroom house. Which we had built and moved into in the summer of 2000.

The two story four bedroom on Laura Lane is where I still live. At least for a little while longer. This home has seen some pretty awesome good times and some really sad times as well. Graduation from high school and college of all three kids. Many parties and dinners with good friends and family. Seventeen Christmas mornings. And the passing of Barb to her eternal heavenly home.

That heavenly home I look forward to some day but for now I’m very thankful for the homes I have had in my life and the people that have made a house a home. So I guess that’s my take on that 1965 Dionne Warwick song A House Is Not Home.

If it wasn’t for the people we have loved in our lives, a house really wouldn’t ever become a home. We can live but if we have not loved do we really have a home? I’ve been blessed by many, so very many loving people in my life that I can truly say I have had the best of homes. I imagine I have a few more to move into over the years ahead and I know each will be just what I need and desire. Especially the last one on that golden street.

But until that home, I will continue to live and love the people God brings into my life and enjoy the homes that are created around me. How wonderful it is to be home and even more wonderful to make a home for those you love. May we all be blessed in this way and build the blessing of a loving home for others.

Thanks friends. See you down the road.