Sunday, May 18, 2008
Missing Home Again
Ever since I moved to Louisville, even though I've been here almost seven years, I go through these occasional bouts of homesickness.
Sometimes they can be triggered by the most innocent things. Seeing Houston homeboy Roland Martin on CNN pontificating on some issue, talking to family, watching a sistah from Missouri City winning Miss USA or watching a news report that involves things happening back in H-town.
This bout started when I called up Vanessa and got her cellphone as she was rolling eastbound on I-10 toward New Orleans for the HRC protest. It didn't help that I'd just finished writing a post on my airline days as well and the WNBA season was less than 24 hours from tipping off at the time. While I've done a few road trips already and there are a few more in the near future for me, it's still been almost three years since I last visited home, and that was a mostly drama filled 36 hour visit for my brother's wedding.
So why do I go through this on a regular basis? I've spent most of my life with the exception of the month I lived in Denver for training, the two years in New Orleans and the almost seven years I've lived here residing in Houston.
It's probably because a native Texan and Houstonian's attachment to the 268,581 square mile slice of the United States we call Texas is like nowhere else in the country and it runs deep. Houston being the largest city in Texas also adds another notch or two the pride I feel at being born there.
I think another reason as to why I haven't been able to shake those frequent bouts of homesickness is that I have yet since I moved here been able to take a vacation week in which I get to go home without it being dictated by a ticking clock because I had to fit the trip in a narrow work schedule window. To compound the problem, driving the 1000 miles from Louisville to Houston means I have to leave earlier than I'd like and allow a day for the return trip.
One of the things that I've thought about over the years is that I'd been there so long it was just a given to me that I'd be there until they were lowering my coffin into a six foot hole. It never occurred to me that I'd be put in a position in which I'd have to leave it for a while, and the fact it was reluctantly done eats at me from time to time. The fact that there's distance between me and my beloved hometown, combined with the differences in the cultural quality of life between a city with 2.5 million people versus one with 400,000 has made me belatedly appreciate what I had there.
But those were the lemons I was handed, so I'm trying to make lemonade with them while I'm here. While I'm appreciated and loved by my chosen family up here, the activist community shows me love and seeks me out when they have problems that need solving, it reminds me that I had unfinished 'bidness' at home. Every now and then I get slapped with the 'outsider' tag by some native Louisvillian 'too busy' or too lazy to do anything about their situations except bitch and complain about the people that are trying to improve things for 'errbody' in the Louisville metro area and the state.
While it's been a mixed bag of experiences in Da Ville, to be honest I did need to experience living in another part of the country besides the Lone Star State and the Gulf Coast for a while. The Kentucky Colonel proclamation hanging on my wall along with the back to back awards I've received from organizations up here still reminds me of the fact that the progressive community here values me more than my hometown one did before I left.
But I still miss things that are quintessentially Houston and Texan. Rolling up to Scott Street and grabbing a Frenchy's chicken three-piece and their seasoned Frenchy Fries. Rolling down I-45 to Galveston. Majic 102. Grabbing a bite at Katz's Deli or Niko-Niko's. Montrose and the eclectic nature of it. Chilling in the park at the base of Williams Tower in the Galleria area and the Water Wall. Chilling in Hermann Park. Barbecue. The ride up Texas 71 to Austin when the bluebonnets are blooming. Texas high school football. TSU's Ocean of Soul band. The Coogs. The Ensemble. Rolling up I-45 to Dallas. Rolling west on I-10 to San Antonio. Rolling east on I-10 to visit New Orleans.
Hell, I even miss Mattress Mack's Gallery Furniture commercials.
Oh well, at least I can get Blue Bell Homemade vanilla ice cream up here now.