Monday, July 16, 2012

Going Home

Both of my parents were born and raised in the small town of Mannington, Kentucky.  Small means small in rural Kentucky - it means about 300 occupants if you include the chickens!   When they retired, mom and dad moved to "the lake" to partake in the good life.  Kentucky Lake is about an hour and half from Mannington and we spent many summer vacations at the lake before they moved there permanently in 1985.  I loved being at the lake each summer, going to the different restaurants, the beaches and spending days in the boat on the water.

Like any place, if you spent enough time there you tend to get used to it.  You forget to look around you and appreciate the view and the things that make it special.  I worked for Ritz-Carlton for several years and after a while, I didn't even notice the magnificent flower arrangements, the priceless artwork, and antique furniture that graced the lobby of the hotel.

I went back to Kentucky earlier this month to help my mom celebrate her 80th birthday.  Driving in I began to pray that God would truly use this visit for two things: one to bless my mom and let her know how much she means to me, but also to remind me of how much I have always loved the state of Kentucky.  The picture above is a snapshot of God's faithfulness.  It shows my parent's home, the Dinner Bell - a restaurant we always visited each summer on vacation that I LOVED and have such fond memories of, and my first cousin's garden, complete with a mockingbird nest that we risked being pecked in the head by the mama bird in order to take the picture!  I drove on those country roads and just remembered.  I remembered laughing with my best friend, Royal, and being sunburned to a beautiful shade of red.  I remembered eating at the Dinner Bell and shopping at The Hitching Post for just the right souvenir of the summer.  I remembered listening to Elton John driving down the road (and I did plug in my phone and listen to Elton John on my itunes).   I spent some time with my cousin, Jan.  She and I are two of three remaining first cousins and very honestly, we are about all we have left of the Pickering side of the family.  She IS Kentucky to me now - and I love that.  I went "home" and found out that you really can go there again if you want to.