A few weeks ago, we spent a warm early fall Tuesday with my folks at the Roots Market in Manheim, PA. A wonderful slice of central Pennsylvania – this is the land of my mother’s people (so it’s part of my heritage, too). We passed the Amish carriages on the roads, and at the market stands we bought sliced sweet sausage, cup cheese, and shoofly pie from the Mennonite ladies in their delicate white-laced caps. It was a perfectly delightful day, despite the long ride out to the heartland of the Keystone State and back again, to overnight in New Jersey.
During the car ride we talked a lot about family and about where we each felt most “at home.” We also discussed whether one could feel at home in a place where one’s ancestors had come from but was unfamiliar to us. . . . And equally, whether one could feel truly at home in a place that was not remotely like where one had grown up. We chatted about what defines, “home”– and what a rich discussion it was!
Certain smells, certain foods, the way a field or roadside or distant mountain can transport us immediately to a place of comfort. How we can sit in a family member’s house and not necessarily feel “at home”– and so enjoy an evening meal at a friend’s house and feel so comfortable we don’t want to leave (hmm . . . perhaps that’s the wine?). The word “home” is rich with individual feeling and sensations unique to each of us.
Who are YOU when you are truly “at home”?