In The Passing of Tulee Main, this little snippet comes up as Bart and Liz head once more to Tyson County:
“In Tyson County . . .’home’ wasn’t a current address. ‘Family’ wasn’t a domestic unit prescribed by Census Bureau standards. Home and family meant a lot here. Twenty, thirty, maybe forty years after heading up into Virginia and beyond, the ‘youngsters’ would come back, now grandparents, and resettle on the family land just as if they had never been away.”
That’s what home was to them. It’s somewhat the same as ‘home’ was to me as I grew up. Even after living on the farm in our quiet valley for fifteen or eighteen years, my mother (and father, as well) would perhaps decide one evening to go ‘over home’.
‘Over home’ usually meant Mountain Lawn, the old farm with the white house, the big barn and the fields spreading across the rolling hills where she had spent her childhood. Sometimes, it would be the small house surrounded by fields a few miles away along a road overlooking the valley stretching up towards Ashland: my father’s home.
I now live here in Upper East Tennessee among neighbors, some of whom actually did leave as youngsters for the aircraft and auto jobs in the north. There was no work, no money, no future here for a young person. Everyone knew that – and they did the reasonable thing : they went north where the money was. But they never left home.
They’re back here now. Most have been back for a long while. Some are back in the little cemetery across the road from Pleasant Grove Baptist. In whatever way, they’re home. They’re home among children, aunts, uncles, cousins; a large extended family of their own. The fact is, they never left, no matter how long they were gone.
Maybe it’s me, but I think we’re losing ‘home’ and I think we’re losing ‘family’. You may think of this as a long stretch of logic but, with them, I think we’re losing a way of life and, perhaps, a nation.
WHAT’S HOME TO YOU? Comment at will.
(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’ link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)