Monday, December 25, 2006

Home for the Holidays

I am spending most of my Christmas break back in my hometown. For someone raised in the kind of atmosphere that I was, living up North can be a challenge. A small Southern town is not quite like any other place. I don't pretend that my home town is perfect. It has all the flaws of any small town. And I don't pretend that my family, my large sprawling Southern family, is the Waltons. We have all the problems of any big family. But tonight I sat in a crowded house and listened to the younger generation stand in the kitchen singing. My family is full of gospel singers and we have always been prone to impromptu concerts. As the kids sang I heard echoes of my mother and aunts. And I remembered what it was like to grow up in a house full of music. We played records and sang songs and talked -- always talked. My family was big and messy and funny. And my town is a place where newcomers eventually get folded in and prodigal sons and daughters get welcomed back. Every now and then you need to come home. To be reminded of who you are, to be reassured that you still are that person and to be with people who speak the same language and sing the same song.

Merry Christmas.