Country roads…take me home, to the place where I belong. West Virginia, mountain mama. Country roads…take me home.
My dad taught me this old John Denver tune when I was a little girl. We used to sing it together all the time. He’d sing the first part, then I’d sing the second part, and we’d join in the end together – one of my most precious memories of my childhood.
I’ll be visiting my hometown in a few weeks – good ‘ole Southern Illinois. Yep…it’s sultry, sticky, humid, and will probably be in the high 90’s most of the time we’re there. Woohoo! Bring it on! My parents live in the country – not on a farm, but definitely a rural area and still on the same piece of land where I grew up. It’s far from West Virginia, but I like it. Going home is always a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me – seeing old friends from school and family I haven’t seen in at least a year, sometimes multiple years. Each time I return, it seems to be more of an emotional journey than before as I watch my parents enter their senior years now, struggling with various health issues. They’ve also taken on the added responsibility of being full-time caregivers to my 89 year old grandmother that now lives with them. I would joke and say it’s the ‘blind leading the blind’, but I shouldn’t…because my grandmother really IS blind and my mom isn’t far behind her. That wouldn’t be right of me. Hee Hee (but a little funny in sweet loving way, huh?)
I’m looking forward to my time with them though. I miss them more now than I ever have before, and even though I know I’m where I belong right now, it’s still hard to be away. So, on this visit, I’ll enjoy my time with family, helping where I can and making lots of time to sit by the pool at my brother’s house…enjoying a few glasses of vino and chatting with my amazing sister-in-law whom I adore. I’ll get lots of hugs and kisses from my sweet little niece too – my favorite part! Summers in my hometown are lazy and relaxing. A time to reconnect with where I came from and help me focus on where I want to go. It’s simply a time to relax and recharge…and hopefully I’ll get to see at least ONE gulleywasher or big thunderstorm! (I SO miss the thunder…)
Speaking of storms, I’ve just finished writing my second book entitled, Grace After the Storm, currently finishing up the first edit before it goes off to the publisher. The character in this new book, Hannah, loses her parents and is forced to move back to her hometown and take care of her ailing grandmother. Along the way, she encounters a few storms that will cause damage to her emotionally, and physically. She’s forced to deal with a past love who broke her heart, but could also save her if she’ll let him. Hannah learns that there is always a little grace after the storm, as long as you see it through.
I couldn’t wait to type the last word, and some days didn’t think I would ever finish. I did though, and for that reason (and many others) I probably need this vacation more than any other. I hope to spend a day driving around those country roads – remembering that it is still my home and always will be. It’s the one place where I belong, even if I don’t belong anywhere else. I look forward to family and friends, and surrounding myself with good food and fun with my kids. And even though those country roads lead me back home, I can’t forget that they also brought me to the place where I belong now…
Happy Summer! Take a vacation, take a day off, take some time for YOU and your loved ones. Whatever your summer looks like, I hope you enjoy it, and if you look back at where you came from, don’t look back too long. It could trip you up, and then you might miss something wonderful waiting on the road ahead.
Until next time…grab a beverage, then go outside and sit on the porch during the next storm! You never know what you might see. 🙂