The horse's pasture to the East...

Monday, August 12, 2013

HOME....where my heart is.

HOME. Webster's Dictionary gives one of the definitions of HOME as : the place where a person or family lives; one's dwelling place. But further down the page, because there is more than a half a page dedicated to this one simple word, it says: a place thought of as home;a place where one likes to be. And then there's the slang use of HOME: home free [slang]beyond the point of doubt in approaching success or victory (destination or target) HOME. It's almost a philosophical question in one four letter word. There are 39 other words listed after HOME with home as the first part of the word. You could shape a whole language around HOME.

I've been thinking about this word today, trying to figure it out. Where am I at home? When did I begin to question what  HOME means? I guess it's one of those 'getting older, what's it all about Alfie' things that most of us go through sooner or later. I have a tendency to be a late bloomer so I would be in the 'later' category.

Today John and I have been married for 41 years. We met in the Spring of 1970 while going to class on The Hill, KU. I'd decided to go to class early. I had two pieces in a senior show (I'd lied about my year. I was a Freshman, so I was feeling pretty cocky about my party crashing art work.) and he was late to class. It was April 9th, just 6 days before my 19th birthday, and it was warm for that time of year. Or maybe it just seemed warm to me. I was only 18 and everything was easy. 

He said, " Um. Hi! Can you tell me why you're carrying a tackle box with you? I've seen people on campus carrying boxes with them to class. Is it fishing season?" He was tall (6'1"), had long, curly auburn hair and freckles. He was wearing a single strand of beads around his neck, a white T-shirt and a horrible pair of neon blue bell bottoms. 

I was wearing blue jean cutoffs, an antique necklace (that I still have!), a blue T-shirt and a whole lot of hair, down to the back of my knees. John told me later, years later, that when he first saw me he thought I was a very casual streaker. All he could see was hair and legs and he wanted to see the rest! Ahhh men. 

I was pretty proud of myself for not laughing. It was, by far, the lamest line that anyone had ever used on me. He was too cute to laugh at though. It was an opportunity to flirt with a good looking guy. 

"I'm a Fine Art's student. I carry my supplies with me in the tackle box. This one used to belong to my Grandad, so it really was a fishing box once." and I flashed him my best smile. There was a bit of a wind though and it blew my hair in to my face and mouth. So much for looking like a cover girl. 

I spit out my hair, trying to look like it was something I did all the time, and smiled again. (Oh great. He's going to think I have the elegance of a goat. Fine, just fine! Blown it already.) And he walked on past me. 

Crap! He walked on past me. I wanted to learn how to flirt, goddamn it! (Pardon my French, but that's how I thought back then. I had teen-aged potty mouth.) " Hey, what's your name? You don't sound like you're from around here. Out of state student?" And there it was ... HOME. I don't know how I knew. I just knew he was my HOME.

The story is 43 years worth of telling, a whole series of autobiographical stories and books. But I still remember that feeling. I even heard a voice say it, " HOME. Don't let him go on without you. " It really was one of those cross roads places in my life. Time stretched out, long and lazy. When he turned around and smiled at me again, I felt like I was HOME. 

I wish I could say time was still stretched out, but it isn't. Somehow it's slipping by, faster on some days than others. When I sit down in a Dentist's chair, it slows way down (maybe I should find a way to promote that idea? YOU TOO CAN LIVE LONGER. GO TO THE DENTIST AND DREAD THE NEXT HOUR! Nope. never mind.) but otherwise it just seems to speed by.

I'm in a group of Horsemen called the UNSTUCK group. I've been trying to find myself back to who I was, or I thought that was what I wanted to do. Instead I find myself chanting, singing, talking to myself about HOME. It's taken a lot of years (told you, I'm a late bloomer) to realize that what I'm really trying to find is that place inside me that is HOME. 

It isn't a place. HOME is a feeling, that complete, satisfied sense of being that tells me, no matter how hard it seems to be, I'm HOME. I'm right where I'm supposed to be and always have been. 

HOME : 3. to the center or heart of a matter; closely; directly' deeply.


Happy Anniversary, John. This one is for you. You're the other half of my HOME. 

I am, always yours, Nancy, head back and laughing! 

PS. Fishing season? Oh yeah! And the best part is that we caught each other!

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