Be It Ever So Humble: A Moment With Bill Reflection
A Struggle at Times
“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”
I have struggled at times with this whole “home” business, and I suspect others have as well. I was one of the lucky ones and I am fully aware of that fact. I had a wonderful childhood, and my memories of home are as clear today as they ever have been. My childhood home was the same from the age of five until I moved out at twenty-four, and it was a home of family dinners, laughter, and love.
All well and good, but the struggle begins once that childhood home is no longer. Once the parents have died and extended family moves away; once the children marry and cannot replicate the childhood experience; once life just gets in the damn way, then those wonderful memories of days gone by almost become painful reminders of days that will never be again, and therein lies the struggle.
Turning It over to Toby King
I recently finished my first draft of a novel I have been working on for the past six months. The working title is “The Long Walk Home” and the main character, the protagonist if you will, is one Toby King, writer, poet, and one extremely flawed human being. I’m going to turn this discussion about home over to Toby and let him share his thoughts on home.
“Be it ever so humble, come on now, sing it with me, you know the words, there’s no place like home. Brick and mortar, framework and insulation, toss in a little plumbing and wire it for power; what have we got, give me an H, give me an O, give me an M and give me an E and what does that spell?
But wait, we need a lawn, we need some flowerbeds, and the kids will need a playhouse, oh wouldn’t a treehouse be fantastic for the little ones, and a two-car garage of course, not for the cars but for the junk, it’s piling up and we need a place to store it, and home from the store and the smells of roast pork and apple pies waft through the air, Toby, wipe your feet; Toby, wash your hands; Toby, set the table. How ya doing, son? How was school? Did the paper route go smoothly today? Let’s play some catch after dinner and then it will be time for homework, and man alive that pie tastes good, can I have another piece, momma, please just one more piece.
And the years pass and the children move away, and now home for the parents is just the two of them and eight-by-ten photographs hang on the walls, and the kids are off and running, shucking and jiving to and fro, and where is home for them now that they have moved far, far away? And during their travels, the sojourns around the countryside, there are homeless, and where is home for someone who is homeless? A bit of a soggy pickle that question don’t you think? And those who live in foster care and institutions, do you suppose they go for a walk and then return “home” or do they just return, for where is home when the apple pies and roast pork dinners are missing and nobody has your eight-by-ten on the wall?
And more years pass and the children have children, and the parents of old are now memories, and the moving trucks come and the moving trucks go, and here’s the keys to your new home Mr. and Mrs., and the old pictures are hung on the new walls, and new aromas drift and new memories are made, many miles from whence they came but still residing in their homes.
Change is a constant my friends, and yet the more things change the more they stay the same, for one ingredient is found in all the homes, near and far, to and fro, one room studios and massive five-bedrooms; gated communities and a shack in the holler; all are homes because home is where the love is. That is a truth you cannot deny. Home is a four-letter word; love is a four-letter word; put them together and you have found the secret. Makes no difference if you have a vibrant family of six or it’s just you and the spouse; home is love and love is home. Change addresses a score of times; put in lawns and take out lawns; home improvements or decaying from the years; where there is love there is home.
And so we travel all those miles, from childhood to adulthood, running willy nilly in search of whatever, chasing our tails and chasing our dreams. The good times come and the good times go. The bad times come; the bad times go. We plow ahead, stumbling our way to the next bumble of life, never quite sure if the next decision will be a game-breaker or not; never quite as confident as we would have others believe. And there are some who are forever looking for that which they left so long ago, the scent of apple pies and roast pork and mom and dad tucking them in at night with a gentle kiss and a knowing smile, and they are lost without it, totally flummoxed in search of the better days long past, the kinder, gentler days when truths seemed absolute and doubts were non-existent.
Then one day the searching ends. For some it ends with a pine box and a memorial; for others, it ends when they discover the truth, the absolute of life that has been true since the day we crawled out of the womb…..home is love and love is home.”
A Simple Truth Indeed
“I feel like I've never had a home, you know? I feel related to the country, to this country, and yet I don't know exactly where I fit in... There's always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself.”
Don’t discount it my friends. Don’t devalue it or shun it in favor of some slick-talking shuckster who speaks with forked tongue. You can’t buy it at the convenience store and you can’t trade for it at the mercantile. Love cannot be purchased. Love cannot be bartered for, and love cannot be undervalued. Without love we are just existing, breathing in and out, sending electrical signals to various parts of the body, movin’ but not groovin’. Without love we are mere shells, skin and bone, empty vessels in search of cargo.
With love we are complete.
Home is love and love is home. There is a truth that will keep you warm at night, and no matter what you may face in the future, no matter what hardships you will endure, with love you have a fighting chance. Without love all bets are off.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)....dedicated to my friend Ruby who faithfully reads all of my articles no matter what they are about....this one is for you my friend.