There’s no place like home.Dorothy Gale
I have spent some time recently in my home town of Wichita, KS. I have not actually resided there since 1996, yet it still gives me a sense of home when I am there. I never had aspirations of leaving Kansas. Life was easy there and I had close friends and family around me. As new job opportunities came up, we took them and that took us away from home. We have moved more than we planned to over the years…that’s how life goes. But I have loved each new town we have spent time in. We have made many lifelong friends and had so many wonderful experiences because of those opportunities.
But there is just something about going home. There is a feeling of belonging. No matter how long I am away, I am welcomed back. The multiple homes I lived in over the years all belong to others now. Both of my parents and other family members are gone now too. But I still have my beloved in-laws, my brother and his family, and several cousins to connect with when I’m there.
I have spent time in my in-laws home for forty years now. When I think of home, that is where my mind immediately goes. So many memories come to mind when I pull into their driveway. I see reflections of the early years of visiting my boyfriend’s house, to a few years later bringing my babies over to see Grammy and Papa Buzz, to just recently introducing them to their great-grandchild. No matter the occasion, I’m always met at the door with love and acceptance. Which is usually followed by a cold drink and an amazing meal.
Home isn’t necessarily a place. It’s more of a feeling in your heart. Certain people and places give this to us. It’s an interesting meditation to ponder what home means to you. For me, home will always mean Kansas.
Some things that make me a Kansan:
- I have a fascination with big thunderstorms that might produce tornados.
- I start to feel claustrophobic if I can’t see the horizon.
- It still feels strange to buy liquor at a grocery store, especially on a Sunday.
- I have never lost the feeling of needing to use hairspray thanks to the ever present Kansas wind.
- I say “hi” to everyone. Midwesterners are a friendly bunch.
- Yes, I have attempted to tip a cow. I was unsuccessful.
- I call them lightening bugs.
- I say ar-KAN-sas River, not AR-kan-saw River.
- I have come to the conclusion that mosquitos and humidity seem to work in tandem during Kansas summers.
- I have a deep understanding of farm-to-table. The life of a farmer is not an easy one.
- I feel a lot pride that the University of Kansas is the birthplace of basketball.
- I hold close the memory of fried chicken dinner at Grandma’s house on Sunday afternoon.