Going Home Again

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.
— Dave Barry

My father was once pastor of a Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Looking back, I probably didn’t make it easy for him or my mom, the pastor’s wife. I think I was just about Sixteen at the time. Do I need to say more?

There are witnesses to the fact that I may have been at most obnoxius stage of life; to this point. As I slide into full-blown senior adulthood though, it could be that my worst self is yet to come.

"Like I said, things never turn out exactly the way you planned. Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day, you're in diapers; next day, you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place... a town... a house... like a lot of other houses; a yard like a lot of other yards; on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is... after all these years, I still look back... with wonder." From The Wonder Years.

Now about this church in Tulsa. They have something now they didn’t have when I was a teenager there — a Facebook page. I’m a “follower”. Chronicled on the church’s FB page is a sort of reinvention for the church, which is something that probably could have happened to me during my few years there—reinvention that is.

I found myself a little troubled about the church’s actions, something they called a “reboot”, which included redesigning the church auditorium and changing the church’s name (for heaven’s sake). Why should it matter to me? I only spent a few years there, but they were important years. My dad and mom though, gave all there.

I think this is why it matters. It’s not as though the reboot necessarily does away with the seeds my folks planted there so long ago. It’s just hard sometimes when the bedrock stuff of your life shifts. Not long ago we drove down the street where I spent most of my growing up years. Our little house is gone now, and the Bordens Cafeteria where I can remember getting fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy for Sunday lunch has been replaced by a “dollar” store.

My folks are 92 and 89. My mom still checks “The Facebook” from time to time, when they have a good wireless connection at the assisted living village. If they have taken note of the changes at the church, they haven’t mentioned it. Probably they would see it as progress, and therefore, cause for thankfulness. They are like that.

For me I have the memories: like playing that little game during the sermon where you match up song titles from the hymnal to see what funny combinations you can come up with. My personal favorite: “Have Thine Own Way!” & “O, Why Not Tonight?!” And, I remember the wonderful people there who served with humility. I remember the man who taught my Sunday School class and wrapped up every, single lesson with this: “Now, boys, the lesson in a nutshell is…”

Maybe the point of this essay in a nutshell is this:

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory." — from the book, You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe

Having A Place

HOME SWEET HOME. You have to love a band that would call themselves Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. No doubt you've heard their music, at least the song called, "Home" with a chorus that says, "Home is wherever I'm with you." That's a sentiment I can appreciate.


I know for a lot of people having a place seems important. Maybe there's something agrarian in their blood, or maybe that's just normal. After all, some of mankind's earliest stories are about a people seeking a Promised Land. And now, a bazillion years later they're still fighting over whose dirt is whose.

On the other end of the spectrum is the "this earth is not my home, I'm only passing through" crowd; also a sentiment I can appreciate. Back in 1972, a guy named Larry Norman made a record called, "Only Visiting This Planet". He was an important person for me back then.

As I mentioned in a post a few days back called, Coming of Age in 1969, I was swept up in the whole "give peace a chance" deal. Larry was one of the catalytic characters for a bunch of us who wanted to shake things up and saw in Jesus a model we could identify with: universal love, pacifism, radical worldview, etc. So the "Jesus Freak" became a part of the counter-culture movement.

One of the prevailing themes of the day (at least in my memory of it) was to be good stewards and caretakers of this big round ball that is our temporary home. Communal living and farming became grand experiments in the new paradigm.

Today, there is something very familiar in the air (and I'm not talking about the air in Colorado and Washington). Every time I go to Whole Foods® for groceries, there's a wash of nostalgia--young guys with full beards and flannel shirts, young moms with a baby swaddled to themselves. There is one big difference though: back in the day, the girls wore long dresses and beads. Today they wear yoga pants (regardless of their size) and a North Face® pullover.

The magazines on the rack by the cashier have to do with organic cooking and raising chickens rather than the public and private lives of pop culture's finest. I'm a sucker for subliminal advertising and I will admit right here that if our fair city of Oklahoma City had passed a recent consideration to allow us gated-community suburbanites to raise a couple of chickens, I would be building my coop as we speak. It didn't pass.

And it's not just places like Whole Foods®. The other day I was in Lowes® home improvement store. On the rack with books about building your own deck or converting your den into a garage was a book on raising goats. This was something I know something about. I had a goat when I was young. His name was Cocoa. I'm not sure what ever happened to him. I don't remember seeing him after my Uncle David, who had lived for years in Corpus Christie introduced us to a delicacy called the fajita.

While I do enjoy having a place to call my own, I believe that Woody Guthrie was right; in a sense. "This Land Is Your Land; This Land Is My land" sort of; at least for a while longer. However, I would be perfectly happy to hook to the Airstream® (once we own one), and with my Amazing Missus head off on some nomadic adventure, swapping stories and good food in the wayfaring commune of other adventurers.