Dorothy was right – there certainly is no place like home. After all, home is where the heart is. I’m beginning to realize, though, that there are many places we will always call home. Why not? Over the course of our lives, we give our hearts to many different people…why then can’t our hearts become attached to many homes, as well?
I just returned from my trip “home”, which included Delaware, where I was born and spent most of my life, but also New Jersey, where I lived for several years and developed a strong attachment.
Crossing the bridge to Ocean City, NJ my heart raced as the feeling of “home” settled over me. As I walked the beach and approached the lifeguard stand marked “9,” memories washed over me. When I moved to Ocean City, I was newly divorced and experiencing life on my own for the very first time. It was a frightening time for me, and I was in a strange place where I didn’t know a single person. The “9” stands for 9th Street, and that was where my first apartment in Ocean City was. That lifeguard stand was a marker for me. When I walked the then unfamiliar beach, I knew this was my stop. This was where I turned to head home. That period of my life, while it was lonely, was very empowering, as well. I had always been a free spirit and extremely independent, but for the first time I was truly free and entirely on my own. Those years in Ocean City cultivated an inner strength, resolve, and determination that shaped the person I am today.
Of course, Delaware is where I grew up and where my parents live. I always feel like a child when I pull up in their driveway after being gone for long periods of time. They still live in the house that I grew up in, and even though they have made changes to the physical appearance of the house, memories lurk in every crevice. My first night there, my parents decided we would go to Old Country Buffet for dinner. Well, of course, this is the obvious choice as it is common knowledge you simply cannot find enough country cooking in Tennessee. J In truth, it wouldn’t have mattered to me if we hit the McDonald’s drive-thru as long as we were eating dinner at the same table together. My mom comes to Tennessee routinely because she is from here, but my dad does not, so seeing them together, acting silly, was great.
Tiffin went home with me, and he, of course, loved seeing his “granny.” Much as he tried, he didn’t get too much love from the cat, though. He would get down in his “lets play” stance, only to get a slap in the face from Ms. Kitty. I think he missed Harlan and Oakley, and he was glad to finally get back to Tennessee. One thing that was noticeably different with respect to Tiffin was the way he was received by people. The last time we were home, people reacted so negatively toward him – a total stranger even called him a killer. This time, many people approached us on the beach and elsewhere wanting to talk about him and pit bulls in general – how they get a bad rap. He was a great ambassador, as usual.
There were so many people that I would like to have seen on my visit, but time just doesn’t allow. I was so happy I was able to catch up with a few special friends, and send a BIG thank you to Heather for all the doggy goodies! The dogs absolutely LOVE THEM ALL!!
For now, we are back “home” in Tennessee. I’m told it rained the entire time we were gone, and a simple glance at my yard definitely proves that. The grass desperately needs to be mowed, the hedges need to be trimmed, and the vacation is definitely over. I did miss my Tennessee hideaway and all my bullys terribly. Regardless of all the clichés, I finally realize, at least for me, that “home is where the dogs are!”