Having lived there for years, and having gone there literally all my life, I’ve always considered Little Rock/Central Arkansas “Home”. No matter where life has taken me, I’ve always felt rooted there. I lived in both Malvern and Little Rock, and am intimately familiar with both. I always look forward to opportunities to return.
So, yesterday, I had a business trip to Little Rock. I had intended to drive, but at the last minute decided to fly, thus getting into town around 4:30. Got the rental car (I’ve got car fever a little, and the rental car was a brand-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, black with tan leather interior with all the electronic goodies; I wanted it badly).
Since I had time, I decided to drive to Malvern and visit the Cemetery. I do that about once a year. I know, they’re not there—just monuments—but I still do it.
I’m told you never get over the death of your mother. You cope, you understand, you live with it—but you never get over it. I think that’s right. So I had myself a good little cry. I miss you, Mom.
I don’t know who put the flowers there, but thank you.
There are 7 generations of my family buried in that cemetery. I won’t be; my spot is directly next to Dad’s, on the left, but I’ve decided funerals are just a waste of money. I’m to be cremated; Nathan has promised to spread half my ashes over Mother’s grave, the other half over the Gulf of Mexico, with a small thimble-full to go on the field at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium—at halftime of an Alabama game when the Hogs are ahead.
After the quick trip to Malvern, I wound up back in “The Rock” looking for something to eat. Went to one old haunt—gone. Second—gone. Finally wound up at a third, remembering the food there being good. It was terrible.
Afterward, I just drove around aimlessly for a while. Went by War Memorial Stadium. Went by my old house. Went by my old office. Drove by the Capitol. Up Cantrell. Down Kavanaugh. Up Markham.
They always say, “You can never go home again.” They’re right. It’s very weird. I lived there a long time, but I don’t live there any more. I know where everything is, I know where all the streets are; it is all infinitely familiar—but it does nothing for me. It’s just another place, like Memphis, Tulsa, Birmingham, Baton Rouge—nice places, but just…places. Not “home”.
I could not get over the feeling today at the airport in Little Rock; all I wanted to do was go home. When the plane landed at Hobby, and I got into the hideous traffic on the Beltway, with the palm trees swaying in the breeze—that’s home now. Houston is home now. But probably not forever.
Home, now, is wherever I am. I am cut loose from the ties. I am a citizen of the world.
And I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that.