The “golden hour” was approaching when I turned off of Highway 60 onto Highway 25. I slowly made my way through the small, southeast Missouri town of Dexter, soon passing from a road lined with homes and businesses to a two-lane highway bordered by fields on each side. Dusk was well on its way and sunset wasn’t far behind, but not yet. The flat landscape of my childhood was all bathed in a golden light, glinting off of tractors in fields, farmers still at work at 7:30 on a Friday night before a holiday weekend, attempting to get the cotton planted before the window that would allow for a good harvest in the fall was gone. Hardworking people still make me think of home.
It smelled like home. It felt like pulling on a comfortable shirt, well-worn, soft, and faded.
I turned the radio up and pondered rolling the windows down. Miranda Lambert’s “The House that Built Me” started playing on the radio. It seemed fitting, and I smiled to myself.
And then I turned off of Highway 25 onto the county road where the house that built me sits. I drove past the fields, the other houses. Past my aunt and uncle’s. Past the grain bins. I turned into the driveway and parked my car in the same spot I’d parked my very first car.
A screen door slammed; a dog barked.
My dad came out to the car, offering to carry whatever I needed. My mom waved from the porch.
I was home. Home.
Sometimes, it’s just good to go to a place where people are expectantly waiting for you to arrive. Where someone is happy to see you when you walk through the door.
It’s good to go home. If just for awhile.