Sunday, July 8, 2012

Home Is Where You Are... Home Is Where I Want to Be

Dorothy had the right idea

Jay enjoyed some KY faves today -
Ale 81 and Grippos

I’m a little homesick today.  I attribute this to the fact that I haven’t been home in about 7 months, and won’t be heading that way until after Christmas at least.  I was thinking about what I’d want to do if I was there.  I think I’d have to go to Ninki, a Japanese sushi and steakhouse where we used to get ridiculously dressed up and join friends for dinner.  Or maybe we’d have to hit up the Big Dipper, a little dive that sells burgers wrapped in waxed paper and insanely good milkshakes (to which I’m allergic, but I simply cannot resist!).  I would probably even brave the heat to go to Legion Park and let Micah fly a kite or take in a movie at Holiday Drive-Inn.   
I miss Ninki - but mostly I just miss these people's faces

Picnic at Legion Park

Because of what I do for a living, and the fact that I move pretty regularly, “home” is a concept that doesn’t always compute with me.  I guess I consider Owensboro, KY my actual home, but I’ve had other homes along the way, and there are reasons to miss them all.

Jackson, TN was my first married home (and wow, that first apartment could absolutely inspire a blog – mental note made!)  Jay and I moved there just after our wedding and lived there from 1997 to 1999.  We were six hours away from family and friends and as poor as can be.  Even so, there were a couple of places that we frequented that I still think about from time to time: a little bistro called Dumplins that had the best rolls I’ve ever had, a small gift shop in the mall where Jay would buy me these little angels called Dreamsicles that I used to collect, a park where the ducks would literally chase you for scraps (I would jump up on a picnic table and scream while Jay would fend them off!).

at our first apartment - one of the only pics to
exist of those days.

Our next home was Atlanta, GA where we lived while we were in school (1999-2001).  On the weekends, we would rent a van with friends and pile in and head to our favorite places – The Dwarf House (the first ever Chick-Fil-A), Gwinnett Mall, and the BackLot theater in Buckhead (where you could watch a movie AND eat a Tollhouse Sunday!).

Our home at the college - my decor was pretty stellar :)

Next we lived in Houston, TX (2001-2005), and honestly, I was terrified there in the beginning.  The city was huge and scary, and I felt lost a lot!  Eventually though, I learned that even big cities have their charms (Um… Tiffany and Co. ) and even some things had a small town feel, like a little mom and pop donut shop we used to go to for something called kolaches (which I’d never heard of until then).

Our home in Houston - check out that carpet!

Our next home was Texarkana, TX (2005 – 2007).  I think we saw this city in a different light since we moved there with a three month old baby.  While we were there, we fell in love with a place called Julie’s Deli, which had a funky mural painted on the wall and chopped up pineapple in the chicken salad.  I adored the little mall there – it had the perfect soft playground for my little munchkin.

our home in Texarkana

We made our next home in Santa Claus, IN (2008 – 2009).  It was a town I had visited my whole life but honestly never knew that people really lived there.  There was a charming little place called Silent Night Café, a wonderful lake (called Christmas Lake, of course) where we would spend our Saturday afternoons, and of course, the coups de gras, the amusement park called Holiday World, which remains Micah’s favorite place on earth, even though he’s been to multiple Six Flags and even Disney World.  For me, what I miss most about that particular home is my own backyard.  There were not less than 20 trees back there, and on a given day, you could see anything from deer to wild turkeys to large turtles to fox wandering through.  I used to take a little wooden treasure box filled with candy and hide it in the backyard.  I would draw Micah a treasure map, then sit on the back porch while he went on a treasure hunt!

Winter in Santa Claus

at Christmas Lake

Our next adventure took us to Muskogee, OK (2009-2011).  There were several local restaurants there that we loved – my favorite being “I’m a Basket Case,” where I still sneak off to for lunch when I have the opportunity.  The best part about Muskogee was the annual Chili Cook-off.  If you ever get a chance to go to it, do it!  It’s the most fun. And this is from someone who is NOT a fan of chili!
Thanksgiving in Muskogee

Crazy cooks!

We now make our home in Tulsa, OK.  I’m hoping we have a few years to enjoy all it has to offer, but there are already things I know I’ll miss when I’m gone from here.  The amazing library that is right by my house, the Cherry Street Farmer’s Market, a Jimmy John’s that delivers to our office!  

I know that there were bad things about each of these homes too… crazy wallpaper that we never had time to replace, blueberry colored carpet, a birds nest on a porch that was rebuilt every time we knocked it down – and man, those birds would attack when we walked out the door!, a nest of mice in a dryer vent.  But when you leave, it seems the bad memories fade, and the good ones remain.

Home is where your heart is, they say.  So when I look back and think of home, I may not think about a particular house or city, but I’ll think about Sunday afternoon naps with Jay on the couch, turning off all the lights in the house for an all-out Nerf Gun war, cooking dinner together, dancing around the kitchen while music plays.  
Home for me is wherever they are… and there’s no place like home.  

My boys kite-flying.

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