As often happens, I’m needing to recover from too much of a good thing. The “good thing” this time has been travel, or rather several back-to-back trips without a single night in between to sleep in my own bed.  I saw a sign once, “Home is where your dog is” and I can relate to that. A brass band couldn’t provide a better welcoming committee than our little westie, Clancy. He jumps up and down in excitement, then circles the kitchen island at breakneck speed, big loops through the dining and living room if I’ve been gone more than a few hours. Finally his paws slide to a first base stop at my feet. He sure knows how to make a gal feel welcome.

Catching up – that’s what makes homecomings so daunting. My husband returned a week before I did so the usual gigantic pile of mail was pared down to just what was mine. There’s laundry, a need to wash what seems like everything I own, and phone calls to return. The garden tells a tale of neglect, though a neighbor’s watering has insured survival of the flower boxes and hanging baskets. The room that is my office looks almost neat, a definite sign of its not having been occupied. 

As I pour my oatmeal into the bowl I used during my time in Iowa, (the woman I stayed with gave it to me as a gift, “to remember me,” she said), I think about what makes home feel like home. Carrying the cereal bowl I circle the main floor of my house more slowly than Clancy did and notice the many gifts from people I’ve known and loved. The people I’ve spent time with around a kitchen table seem to reside here, in the vase and sculture of a dancer, the turquoise bowl and silver cheesetray. Too much luggage to cart around at my age, but wonderous to behold. “Welcome home” it says.  

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