No Longer Home

The drive across in Greenville 
Used to lift my spirits 
Holds nothing for me this time 

Emptiness is creeping in 
I can't explain it 
Rather speed past the Louisiana line 

Hard to know what's the same 
What has changed more 
Me or this shadow of a town 

They all used to be my friends 
Now I do not know them 
Did we drift apart or let each other down? 

I'm all alone 
This is no longer home 

Yeah there's no point in trying to recreate it 
Yeah we finished the game but didn't know we'd played it 

In front of my old house 
A kid is shooting baskets 
On a goal that my dad hung for me 

Take a turn down Camp Road 
Now I'm going back in time 
Hope to find where my innocence might be 

I'd pick up a fifth of whiskey 
And head out to a party 
At a dead end on the outskirts of town 

But the time for that is gone and 
Who knows where to go now? 
A dry county ain't no place to come down 

I grew up in Crossett, a small town in southeast Arkansas. I went to college in Nashville, and I used to love the drive home to see my family and friends. Enough of my classmates would still come home for the major holidays and summer. It was fun to be sort of grown up (but not really--at all) and still feel connected to places and people I grew up with.

The anticipation of seeing people and the time alone in the car listening to Paul Simon is still one of my favorite memories of this time. It was magical hearing the sounds and words of (Simon's) Graceland as I made my way through the cotton fields that seemed to be "shining like a National guitar." Seriously folks, if you don't know the song, go listen.

My parents moved to North Carolina when I was still in college, and it would take a while before I figured how just how much I missed that connection. I didn't fully belong in Crossett anymore, and I couldn't simply transfer the feeling of home to Asheville.

I made it back to Arkansas less and less, and I didn't see many friends when I did. My grandparents lived in a nearby town, and every time I went home I could tell they were getting older. Going home stopped being fun and become something that made me aware that things would never be the same.

The more time that passes, the more this is true. More friends pass away or fall out of touch. Parents get older. The seemingly small sins, joys, and hurts of youth come back with aching power in a drawn-out crescendo that doesn't hurt until it really does.

I think it's OK to spend a little time mourning the loss of the way things were. There were precious moments back there for sure. But if I let myself get stuck, I'll miss out on what's going now right now. These are precious moments too. Just like my younger years, they will slip right by.

 

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