Coming home has got to be the best part of any extended trip. From the way I carry on about traveling, one might think that I am just a vagabond, ready to go any where, for any length of time, at a moment's notice. While there may be some truth to all that, I am actually very grounded to a particular people and place--my wife, son and nephew, and an old house on a dead-end street in a quirky neighborhood of a small East Texas town.
I used to like to have some fun with my in-laws when I would return from overseas. None of them have ever been the least bit interested in where I have been or what I have seen. Usually I am gone for about two weeks before any of them notice my absence. Invariably upon return, I will hear--"Well, I guess you're glad to be home." Translated into what they really mean, it would be--"Well, I guess you're lucky to be back from whatever god-forsaken place you've been to this time, and hopefully you've learned your lesson going places where you don't have any business and that you've got it out of your system and you'll stay put from here on out." Whenever I would hear that, I would deadpan that yes, I was glad to be home. I had to come back and wash clothes before I could go somewhere else.
I would never let on (to them) just how excited I was to be back. And of course, it is the little things about being home I cherish--watching my wife sit at the kitchen bar, patiently listening to her hypochondriac cousin go through her daily litany of how she is "slipping away," all the while rolling her eyes and pantomiming being hung; listening to my wife discuss the prospect of this year's pea crop; sitting in my favorite chair in the sun room on Saturday morning, trying to get a couple of cups of coffee down me and the paper read before my son arrives; my dog who is content to be in whichever room I am in, where he can just look at me, except of course on Saturday mornings when I must drive him through the bank drive-through because he knows they hand out treats; walking down the darkened hallway that slices through the middle of our house as if passing inspection of my ancestors and in laws whose portraits line either side; reading in the study which juts out from the front of the house, enabling me also to keep tabs on developments on three blocks; walking in the yard at dusk and looking back at the flickering lights within the house. Yes, I am so glad to be back home.
This is the last post in this series. I hope they have been enjoyable and profitable. And I do appreciate your patience and indulgence.