This is what being home means

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My trip to Florala Tuesday was better than the Sunday buffet line at Country Folks.

I saw everybody.

I had made a very early start and was in Andalusia shortly after 8 a.m., but it wasn’t long before the school called and said my oldest girl was sick.

Since she never complains, I was a bit worried. We’d eaten in town the night before after attending a city council meeting. Her ailment started a bit then, but I was convinced it was overtiredness and maybe a touch of something.

When the morning dawned, there was no fever, so it was off to school for her. Unfortunately, she didn’t stay there long before we were headed to the doctor’s office. I’d decided to try the new clinic next to Florala Memorial Hospital since it would save us a trip back to Andalusia.

When we arrived, we were greeted with the familiar face of Mrs. Judy, who’d manned the front office for a host of doctors for years. Our nurse was Mrs. Renee, who from what I can gather is really the grease that keeps the wheels of the hospital and that clinic running.

In the waiting room, there was a host of familiar faces.

Two vials of blood and one X-ray later, we’d seen at least six people we knew – including the phlebotomist, the X-ray tech and about four nurses.

I had to step out to make a quick phone call, and as I was talking, I noticed another three figures making their way across the parking lot – all of whom I recognized.

After we’d gotten the diagnosis (not appendicitis, but a virus), we headed to the Huddle House for a bite to eat. There, I saw new friends from church, old friends from school and met one or two folks I didn’t know.

I thought to myself – this is what it means to be home.

After graduation, I was like most of that age. I had a burning desire to be anywhere else but here; however, life puts you exactly where it wants you. For me, that was Covington County. It took 10 years, but I finally made it back to the place where I started.

I like thinking that my children are growing up in the place where there are familiar faces around every corner.

I’ve been at the paper now for five years. When I first started, it was hard for me to think that I’d ever feel comfortable in Andalusia. But, it happened.

Now, when I drive around the square, I recognize the faces behind the wheel. It makes me smile to see the folks milling around outside of Uncle Bob’s.

On the flip side, if I want to go to Wal-Mart with no make-up and my hair in a ponytail, I’m going to see someone I know.

That’s the way it works.

This is what it feels like to be home.