The common cliche says there is no place like home for the Holidays. However, the word "home" has been a rather strange concept for me to grasp the past few years of my life. For me, home has been a constant state of transition. Mr. Webster offers a few definitions of the word "home." Home can be defined as one's place of residence, the social unit formed by a family living together, a place of origin, or a familiar or usual setting. I was born in Southern Indiana, but grew up in Northern Indiana. Most are oblivious to the cultural rift between the two areas. I stayed within Indiana for college, but my parents relocated to St. Louis my freshman year. I still lived most of the year in Indiana, but spent my summers working at a ranch in New Mexico. The summer after college I worked for a baseball team in Illinois and I now reside in Houston, Texas. All of this happened within four years. So it is easy to see why I have a difficult time grasping the concept of home. I'm not sure what or where "home" is for me.
I will admit that this was the first time I actually looked forward to coming to my parents' house 30 minutes southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. They live out in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but hills and winding country roads, which exactly what I needed. Living in downtown Houston wore me down. I guy like me needs to see some nature every once in a while. Christmas allowed me to do that this year.
Christmas has been a difficult time of year for me in recent past. Christmas is often associated with reliving childhood memories, keeping traditions, and visiting with friends and family. Anymore, I feel that Christmas has become just another over-rushed, over-hurried event that is synonymous with the modern American lifestyle. I find the irony in all this almost humorous, but mostly frustrating. My household does what I call "The Blitzkreig." Blitzkreigs have nothing to do with Hitler and the Nazi regime, but are visits to where most of my kinfolk live. The Blitzkreig's primary objective is to see as much family possible in the shortest amount of time not exceeding 24 hours. I mentioned irony earlier. When I was a teenager, my mother told me the importance of family and how you need to enjoy them while you can because they won't be around forever. If family is so important then why does everyone seem to make an effort to spend so little time with them? I find the only way to truly connect to people is through conversation. I have known my cousins for most of my life, but in all reality I know nothing about them. I wish I knew them better, but every time I'm with them I feel like cattle being herded from one dinner to the next. At these dinners everyone spits out the usual chit-chat small talk. Nothing genuine. It's fast and to-the-point. Over-rushed. Over-hurried. This year, I think I had only two complete conversations. One with my uncle about Freemasonry and one with my aunt who was the only one who bothered to ask how my job in Houston. I gave her a full account only to be criticized by my siblings claiming I talked about myself too much. Two weeks ago, my sisters could not wait for their Big Bro to come home. Five days later I get lectured on why the world needs nurses and not professional sports. Again irony.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy New Year!
Good Luck to Coach Lynch and the Indiana Hoosier football team in the Insight Bowl!