Honk that horn if you#039;re almost home

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2006

Everybody needs to feel like someone cares, don't they?

We want someone who is hoping and praying for our welfare and is always pleased to see us once again – someone who will wait up until we arrive, safe and sound.

I guess we all need to feel needed.

My dogs make me feel that way.

Our three canines are usually waiting on the bank for me when I drive home, tails wagging, eyes bright, Tutie Belle literally leaping with joy at the sight of her &#8220mama.”

O.K., so they are also in high hopes their parental unit has brought them some tasty treat. But those three also seem to thrive on the fact I take the time to shake Junior's big paw, ruffle the fur on Rascal's long, shaggy coat and let Tutie Bell excitedly lick my left ear (reserved just for her).

My cats, being cats, are, naturally, somewhat less demonstrative. Still, Callie often greets me with that happy, high-pitched chirrup of hers, placing her pretty pink nose right up to mine, her hazel green eyes full of curiosity and affection.

Even our anti-social little three-legged feline, Thumper, who is far from being a lap cat, has her own way of displaying affection: she rubs against our feet and purrs lavishly.

My mother, who turned 81 last Friday, is pretty fond of me, too. We don't always get to spend as much time as we would like together, and the older I get, the more I feel time is flying by far too fast.

We went out to eat last week at the Cracker Barrel -an early birthday lunch – and had a nice talk and good meal. She thanked me for the meal, but said, most of all, &#8220it was just nice to spend time with me.”

Mama and I have a little tradition. The old farmhouse where I was raised, the house where Mama still lives, is just a short distance up the road from our home.

I pass it each night when I am coming home, and if it's not too late, I give the horn a quick &#8220toot-toot-toot.” It's a signal all is well, one Mama is always anxious to hear, it seems.

Mama is almost always early to bed. If the lights are off, I've always hesitated to honk; I didn't want to wake up an elderly woman who already battles with insomnia.

I gave her a quick call on the cell phone Friday night as I sat in the Arby's drive-through. It was after eight and I was afraid she'd be asleep, but I wanted to make sure she got her birthday surprise I left on the door.

And, I guess, I just wanted to hear the sound of her voice.

&#8220Go ahead and toot the horn when you get home, honey…I won't be back asleep yet,” Mama said. &#8220I always like to hear that horn.”

And I started wondering: do you suppose on those nights when the farmhouse is dark, Mama has been lying there, just hoping to hear the sound of that Jeep horn?

So, I reckon I'll keep honking I'm almost home.

It's good to have someone who cares.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.