"Home is..." I finish that sentiment like many people do, adding "where the heart is", or "where they love you", or "where you make it". "Home" is on our minds a lot lately! We close today on the sale of the Knoxville home we occupied since 2002. It is (finally) empty, save a broom or two and a dust mop that we were too lazy to remove. There's probably some hidden meaning in leaving home care supplies behind for a new owner to find - do we hope it will continue to be loved - or at least cleaned?
Then too there are the pictures of our future "home" being sent via e-mail updates by one of Bill's kind work associates. The photo above shows the exterior of the house. As you can see, it is a "stand-alone" structure. This is rare in Shenzhen - most people live in apartments. The interior is spacious and finishing off nicely too. There's a bedroom on the first floor and 3 more on the upper level - the same amount we had in the (just about) sold house. Of course, others are choosing all of the colors (well, that's easy since everything will be white!), the wood finishes, the fixtures, etc.. This is a big change for us as we have always done extensive re-modeling of our homes, usually adding bold color and agonizing over every choice. We even wallpapered a kitchen and painted bedrooms in our first TN apartment! This seems especially over-the=top when I think back to the fact that we lived there 12 months and started construction on our first home during that time! Anyway, I'd be lying if I didn't confess that "home" has had some strong ties to "dwelling" in our life's history.
But back to the title of my inky meandering.... Despite all that I have said about "home", I was reminded last week just EXACTLY what it is for me. With deep apologies to my beloved TN "family", and with sincere acknowledgement that east TN is indeed a beautiful slice of the world, I have to confess that "home" , for me , will always be Wisconsin. Spending a few days there over the 4th of July holiday was like a magic elixer to me. I drank in the rolling, emerald green farmland, marvelled at the black topsoil and all of the beauty and bounty it produces. Every scent every scene, every taste, all blankets me like a warm quilt. I'm sure I look like a kid at Disney all the while I am there. Just ask our girls and they will tell you they grew up thinking Wisconsin was akin to Oz itself. They joke that my voice takes on a reverent tone and hands must cover hearts when I utter the name of the unincorporated little hamlet where I grew up, namely (I'll give readers time here to assume a respectful pose ) "Mindoro".
So, without apology, I am basking in the afterglow of a trip "home". I will always feel blessed beyond measure to have grown up in a place where "everybody knows your name". Even the mosquitos and the smell of manure can't alter the way I feel about that place. I am SO THANKFUL that my dear siblings planned a reunion picnic during this latest trip. (See the photo above. We're in "numeric order" from left to right.) Adding seldom-seen cousins and nieces and nephews to the "home" experience was priceless. High school friends (and even a college pal) stopped in as well. Reinforcing all of those precious connections was another shot of that elixer.
Reality beckons..... We have a more loose ends to tie before we leave. We will say difficult goodbyes over the next few weeks and we will reinforce the precious connections we have to our Knoxville friends. It will be hard. Thankfully, I have reserves of "the Good Stuff" (anybody familiar with that Kenny Chesney song?) stored deep in the well of my heart. Since I always appreciate reference to a song, I'll always think of it as 'Love Potion #9"
PS: The date fore this pos t should be July8th, 2009. I can't seem to change the one above. (Thanks for pointing that out, Annabelle!)