coming home

I’ve always thought of “home” as where my parents live.  Home was Tucson when I went away to college and now that I live in Chicago, home is in Atlanta.  There is always something special about coming home that gives me those warm and fuzzy feelings.

I suppose my concept of home was something that was fostered when I was growing up.  My family is from Louisiana but my Dad moved us out to Tucson when I was one.  To my parents, home was where their parents were.  It’s funny the impressions that I have from those summer trips back “home” (Louisiana).  There was always something distinctive in the smell of Meme’s home, or the aroma of Mam-ma’s cooking that just felt…like home. 

There is one particular impression that I have accumulated over the years from those trips to Louisiana.  This impression is one that gives me the feeling of comfort and security – it’s a feeling that is hard to describe – but when I feel that feeling I know I’m home.  The first time I can distinctly remember this feeling I was seven.  I was sleeping on the floor of my Grandpa’s office, a room just of the main living room that had a French door and a huge roll-top desk.  I was with my cousin Lloyd and it was morning time.  The house was just beginning to wake up and my grandmother (Mam-ma) and my Mom were in the kitchen making coffee and starting to get breakfast ready.  They were talking just loud enough for me to hear them but not loud enough to hear what they were saying.  I was warm and cozy and their voices, spoken in soft tones, just made me feel happy.  Happy to be there, happy to know that Mom was near by, happy to see my grandparents…just happy.  That is my “coming home” feeling. 

I don’t get that feeling much any more, which makes me sad.  And I didn’t get it on this trip either.  But something else happened that provided proof that I was “home” – the smell of the air.  It reminded me of Louisiana and with the stifling heat and sound of the bugs going…well, it was just like I was a kid going to Mam-ma’s house.  I know I’ve been home this week.  And it was good.