how I know I'm home

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yesterday I set off to the local Whole Foods around 5 PM. I'd been sitting most of the day, working, and I wanted the air. Some of the neighbors were out, defying news of the coming storm. Like a summer holiday, I thought, only we all had our winter coats on.

I'd only just turned the corner on my street when a father and a son invited me up to their garage to see a project that has occupied them for the past four years. This something bright and red they've building. This piece of history, restored. "Hey, Sweetheart," they called to me, as I was walking by. "Have a minute?"

I always have a minute for these two men who are, in so many ways, the pillars here. In addition to their day jobs, they keep this place whole—mowing lawns, collecting leaves, fixing cars, plowing snow, unsticking doors that get stuck. I've watched the son grow up. I've watched the father never grow old. "Hey, Sweetheart," they call. "You need a ride, Sweetie?" "Your house weathering the snow?" "Anything you need, you holler."

They are the irreplaceables—this father and son. They are how I know I'm home—that I picked the right corner of this town to raise my son, to grow up and old. "Sweetheart," they say, "let us know what you need." "Sweetheart, we'll be here if you call."

I snapped this photograph on my way back from the store. Still a little pink in the sky, still a little hope that the forecast of another storm will be a weather anchor's lie. But if the snow comes as they say the snow will come, I know where the lights will still burn.


KSM said...

As I was going home yesterday, I was feeling sad that I had not made the opportunity to finally, personally thank you for the wonderful afternoon at St. David's Church. I did not know what to expect and certainly did not anticipate the opening of that window into my soul that you created as you revealed the opportunities presented by reading and writing memoir. "Handling the Truth" was in itself an enlightenment, but your additional personal revelations; the glimpses of the depth of your love of and research into Philadelphia as found in "Dr. Radway" and "Dangeroue Neighbors" was both a glimpse of the past and a step into the future for me.

I have already pre-ordered "Going Over." My last visit to Berlin in 1966 included an excursion to East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie. It was May 1st and the red flags that draped the dull and desolate buildings are still visible to me. From the relative safety of this era look forward to another visit through whatever characters will take me there.

Thank you again, Beth,for your generosity in sharing your talents and thank you for bringing the pleasures of young adult fiction to those of us for whom young adults are our grandchildren. Peace, Karen

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