“Going Home” could mean different things to different living bodies, but what it means here is a spot on Earth which equals about 2 1/2 acres of the hottest, the driest, and the coldest and most barren, flattest, of the reddest, hardest Northwest Texas dirt that could be gathered up and put in one pile this size. That dirt is so hard, contrary, and self-willed that it took nine of us gouging, chiseling, hoeing and plowing for nigh unto 50 years and the original two that started it all are still hacking away at it and we ain’t been able to change its nature but very little, if any.
Now, I don’t mean for it to sound like it’s been hated all those years, quite the contrary. I believe all nine of us love it till this day, but it’s mainly because of a little old house that was transformed from a shanty into a love-bless’d home by Mother and Dad. Now, there’s a combination that can’t be beat. Oh, they’ve been knocked down, pussied ’round, stepped on, misused, abused, kicked in the face and in the rear, and been imposed upon by more people than you’d care to think about and a big portion of ’em was related to them in some way or another. Even I am guilty of getting in a few licks. But somehow they keep getting up again and again to carry on; each time probably a little slower than the last and maybe a little weaker physically, but oh, the spiritual strength they have exhibited through the years. Well, certainly they may have wavered, faltered or stumbled a few times by the way, but it could happen pretty easy when you’ve already been knocked off balance. “Going Home” is getting close to them again in hope that maybe some of that strength and faith and goodness and mercy and kindness and wisdom and compassion for others will rub off on me and I can leave again feeling that I might be able to withstand the storms of life a bit better than before and maybe help someone else along, too. You know, it’s a good feeling to be able to say you’ve been brought up by parents like that or for others to be able to say they’ve had association with a couple of people on Earth that was just a level above humanity and striving to make it all the way to the top by the time they get to the end of the line.
“Going Home” is looking back at everything home used to be. It used to be a refuge from severe weather storms. In my little days I could run inside and as soon as the screen slammed at my heels nothing could hurt me, nothing bad could get in there. That old place has been a first aid and comfort station with an attendant around the clock, a welfare center where anybody could get a bite to eat and even at times a pair of shoes or a coat, a loan institute operating at a loss, of course, a football field, baseball diamond, track course, a dairy, truck farm, a stage for important actors, training class for home economics, site of many quilting parties, a nursing home, a hideout from the law, a popular playground and entertainment center for all the games commonly known to the poor folks’ kids such as Steal the Flag, Kick the Can, May 1, Hide and Seek, Red Rover, As I Draw This Magic Circle, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Spin the Bottle, Tag, King on the Mountain, and a bunch more I can’t even recall. It’s been a full-line junk yard, a constant repair shop, a chicken farm, a combat zone for would-be soldiers, the wild west with cowboys and Indians. It’s been a research and experimental lab, a wonderland where dreams were built and some were broken, a springboard into the world, a port to return to when it would get so rough it almost caused us to capsize or shipwreck, a wedding chapel, a place of prayer, an opportunity for our own children to know a part of our backgrounds, a place of joyous reunions and sad good-byes, a hospital where life was given and taken away, and broken toys and broken hearts were fixed. It is a beacon that shines bright for all of us to see our way when we start “Going Home”, no matter where we are.
One day this beacon will go out, we all krow and expect this. I guess then “Going Home” will just mean opening up the treasure chest of memories that’s been accumulated over the years or maybe “Going Home” will take on a new and different meaning. Who can tell?
Well, ya’ll come and go with me, cause I’m “Going Home” again.
Truth Magazine XX: 47, pp. 749-750
November 25, 1976