When it comes to having a real appreciation of his roots, my good friend, Steve (he’s the smart, good-looking one between us), is just like me.
Home is where the heart is, and home to him is the local area where he was born, raised and spent all but a year or two of his life. He knows everybody in that area, and everybody knows Steve. He knows all the curves in all the roads there. Steve could tell you a story about every one of the houses along those roads. That’s because he has seen those stories play out in front of him through the decades.
And since the home that’s in his heart and soul was also his home in reality, Steve was always happy. Nothing could knock him off that. Nothing could cause his knees to buckle. He was living just down the road from where he had resided as a kid growing up.
Nothing, that is, until what happened recently, when it was decided that the family would be moving to be closer to several of the married children and their families.
That idea may have seemed good in theory, but life is not lived in theory and ideas. It’s lived in happiness, as in keeping the heart happy, and as such, there was no happiness for Steve because that home was being vacated.
Actually, it’s not so much that that particular home, the one he and his wife raised six kids, is being vacated, though Steve does indeed have a tremendous fondness for that house. It has grown on him. He knows all of its nooks and crannies.
More to the point the fact the family is moving not just out of that house, but completely out of that area, and even to a different county to boot.
Sure, the “good” thing is that the distance is only about 18 miles, but the bad is that it’s 15 miles, if you get my drift.
It’s a big, long, dramatic 15 miles, to be sure, for the personality of the area he’s moving to is 180 degrees the other way from the one he’s leaving.
Steve no longer knows all of the curves in the road, or the stories of the houses along those roads. He doesn’t know any of the roads, or any of the stories. He needs to drop bread crumbs when he walks to the mailbox to get the mail so he can find his way back home. That’s how lost he is – both emotionally and physically.
When I asked him for his new address, he couldn’t even remember the name of the road.
He did a little better several weeks later.
“I know the road,” he said before reciting it to me over the phone.
“How about the address?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”
That was more than two weeks ago. I’m still waiting.
All this from a guy who, with what he does for a living, deals with a lot of numbers and never has any problem remembering them – all of them.
But it’s not the house number, or even the house, that matters. Rather, it’s where that house is located, and it’s the consideration of this question that begs to be asked: “Is it worth it, in an attempt to bring a family closer together physically, to at the same time pull it apart a bit emotionally?
I don’t know.
But I do know that Steve said to a mutual friend recently, “We’re moving, and I’m not happy.”
As his longtime buddy and being a guy who’s fiercely loyal to all my friends, neither am I, even though he’s now much closer to where I live.