I've noticed as I grow into adulthood is that the word "home" is usually used to describe a hometown. I've heard this from my college classmates, my current coworkers and from my own mouth. "Going back home." "Home for the weekend." "Home for the holidays." It's always where you grew up.
I love being from Hawkins in the piney woods of East Texas (along with just a thousand other folks). Here are the things and memories that make my hometown "home" to me:
All the colors of all the tall trees in the Fall. The streets that are filled-in, rather than repaved. The tree in the front yard that I climbed hundreds of times as a kid. The tools and gadgets surrounding my parent's garage. The really big front and backyards. The scary flare from the Exxon plant.
The cheers at a Friday night football game. Hitting "traffic" at the one red light or the one stop sign. Going to dinner at Petty's Cafe (and calling it that, even though that hasn't been it's name in nearly a decade). Throwing out candy to kids at the Oil Festival Parade. Popping fireworks for every firework-holiday.
Driving around the lake for hours, especially on Christmas Eve (in a convertible). Watching film with Dad in the field house. Buying gas station chicken for lunch. Nursing baby birds back to health. Santa making an early gift-leaving appearance, thanks to some sneaky neighbors. Starting a church in a living room.
royal hawk blue shirts and only hawk blue shirts. Burning up in tanning beds and never changing color. Running around the woods playing made-up games. Neighbors and friends coming over to use the pool. Getting a Slurpee with Mom before hot football games and cappuccino before cold games.
Practicing basketball on the least smooth driveway (sometimes dirt roads). Bringing in wood from the wood pile. Feeding stray cats. Babysitting lots of kiddos (sometimes 10 at a time). Raking leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. Hide-and-go-seek in the dark. Super Bowl parties. A giant helicopter on a stick, in a pond.
Watching Matilda for the first time at a neighbor's house as the volunteer fire department put out our chimney fire. Mowing the Dollar General. Waving to any other driver that you pass. Swaying in the backyard hammock. Being late to school because the train blocked your way. Decorating our tornado shelter. Knowing absolutely everyone.
No matter how long I live in Dallas, Hawkins will always have some of my heart.
Where is your hometown and what makes it home to you?