Sunday, March 30, 2008

Going Home

Going home. Last time I wrote, I was on my way to Georgia to visit my family.

I rented a car in Atlanta, drove to Dallas to get my car, and then drove my car back to Georgia. I was able to get a ride to pick up and return the rental car on both ends from Schneider, so that saved me some money on taxi fares.

On my way from Dallas to Rome, I was able to stop in Blossom, Texas, and see my good friend Billy. I spent the night and left early the next morning (a Thursday). Billy and I really enjoyed our time visiting, and Billy, as always, entertained me with stories from his family and life. He is a great storyteller and has a phenomenal memory for detail. And, he recently celebrated a birthday. Happy Birthday, Billy!

I got to Rome that Thursday, and was able to see most everyone in my family and a couple of good friends. And I got to meet the newest member of the family: my Mama's cat, Baxter.

This was my first time in Rome for a visit since last October. I had enough time to just relax and not feel rushed like I do so many times.

I got to see my grandmother, Nanny. She has grown much more forgetful and confused as symptoms of her dementia become more pronounced. And when I called her earlier this week, only a couple of days after seeing her, she asked when I was coming to visit. I mentioned being there just days before, and she had forgotten all about it.

But, even in her battle for clarity of thought, she still manages to be hilarious many times. She's always been a great teller of tales, an entertainer who always kept those of us around her laughing and smiling. We were at my sister's house last Sunday morning, and I was getting things ready to take Nanny up to my aunt's house. Nanny couldn't find her glasses. My sister finally found them, and brought them to her. Nanny said, “Oh thank you, honey! What would I do without y'all?” I asked Nanny: “What would we do without you, Nanny?” She said, without hesitation: “Well, I don't know, but you better start plannin' somethin' pretty quick!” Everyone just laughed – it was like old times, sort of.

I enjoyed special time with my Mama, my sister Cindy (whom I am fortunate to count as one of my best friends), my Daddy and his family, cousins, my niece Paige, and two of my good friends, Sam and Tim. Every moment was special.

To everyone I saw who reads this, I want you to know that I enjoyed our visits and wish they could have been longer. I am already looking forward to my next visit and our next time together.

Finally, it was time to leave Rome and family, and go back home. Home to my truck, to the Lonesome Dove Xpress, to the road.

Growing up in Rome, I always thought that wherever I lived, it would always be home , the touchstone of my life, a cornerstone of continuity no matter what else changed in my world. And for a long time, that was true.

All the years I lived in Dallas, Texas, and Chicago, both places that I loved, they never replaced the idea that my home , the real roots of my life, were in a house in Rome, Georgia, where I grew up in large part – my Nanny's house.

When I met Charlotte, married, and we moved to Florida, my idea of home was altered. Home became wherever Charlotte and I were.

When Charlotte and I divorced, my life on every level, in every particle, was uprooted, and I was birthed into chaos. I sought comfort and familiarity in those old notions of home, family, connections, even as I took to the road to start driving a truck.

Then, in December, 2005, when I felt a desire to help care for Nanny, when she couldn't safely live alone any longer, I moved back to Rome, to the house that was home for much of my life, and drove for a local company in Rome.

After 15 months, it was clear that my role in being able to help with Nanny was ended, and I realized that home wasn't where it used to be. I was physically there, around my family, in the house I thought of most when I thought home.

I didn't know where home was, but I was ready to move on, and Terry and I started teaming, as you know.

When Terry and I quit teaming last December, and I started driving solo again, I finally realized: I am home. Here. In this truck, on this road, living this life, doing what I love, finally at peace with who I am (and who I am not), content in this life that I have chosen, in large part because it is what I have chosen.

So here I am back on the road, on my way to Memphis, Tennessee, with a load I picked up in cold, snowy Buffalo, New York, yesterday. And every mile marker, every turn of my 18 wheels, the whine of the tires on the pavement, the roar of the engine, every wave from other truckers, every smile from pretty girls in passing cars, or servers in truck stop restaurants, every voice on the phone from far away of the people I love, every shift of gears from 2 to 10, every moment spent reading, writing, listening to XM radio or music – all of it – says: “Welcome home.”

It's nice to visit, but it's always good to go home. And I am here.

Until next time . . . keep the wheels rollin' . . .


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am glad you know where home is now. Make sure your family knows it.