Growing up in West Virginia creates a bond and a closeness like no other place on earth. I've lived in Tennessee for 22 years and yet I have moments when the homesickness gets to me.
I go home about 3 times a year and family comes to visit down here. But there are little windows in time when I want to go back to that old country road and sit in the yard of the old home place.
I can close my eyes and hear Daddy pounding and sawing as he works on another project in his building. I can hear the cling clang of pots and pans touching the old porcelain kitchen sink as Mommy stands at the window washing the dishes.
I can picture going to bed on hot summer nights with no air conditioning, just the cool breeze that drafted down the holler and came in the open windows. I remember sleeping with the "big" door open and the screen doors unlocked. I can remember climbing between cool, fresh sheets that hung out on the line that day and the wonderful smell as we snuggled in bed in our shorty baby-doll p.j.s Mommy had made for us.
I remember cook-outs and get-togethers with my cousins as we romped and played all over those old hills and walked in the woods. I can see my sister and I with our books and a glass of lemonade or tea as we reclined in the yard trying to get a suntan. I can remember fussing at our brothers because they wanted to play ball and we had to move our chairs over near the clothesline so we wouldn't be in their way.
I can remember getting our first car when my sister was 16 and us going places without having to walk or catch the "town" bus. I remember our dates picking us up and Daddy insisting they come to the house to get us. If they pulled into the driveway and honked, we weren't allowed to go.
I remember walking down those wooden steps and driving to my graduation. I remember the day I moved out and got married. I remember bringing my children back to that old house up the holler and watching them with their cousins. I can picture each of my children and my nieces and nephews as they too enjoyed the fun times to be had in that old house up the holler.
I remember that old dirt country road with such fondness and such wonderful memories. The years have marched on. Daddy has been gone since 1999. Mommy moved into town. My brother owns the old home place and has remodeled and redecorated until it doesn't look the same any more. The nieces and nephews are grown and married with kids of their own. The family still gathers in that old yard for cookouts and baseball games. The great nieces and nephews hear the old stories about what it was like growing up in the holler. When I go home to visit, I can still see that old white house in my mind, sitting on top of that hill. I can envision being in the yard, watching for Daddy to walk up that old dirt road when he got off work for the day.
But most of all, I remember the love. And I get homesick.