Truly, there is no place like home

Photo by Scott Webb

The word home signifies something special and important to all of us.

No matter where in the world one comes from, home symbolizes security, love and a place of belonging.

Home is not just a house, although it usually involves houses, it is where our parents brought us from the hospital. It is where we were cared for and taught the fundamental things of life.

Immigrants, from Great Britain or Europe or anywhere else, will refer to their country of origin as home. They talk about going home for a visit or getting letters from home.

They are not disrespecting their new homeland, it’s just that their feelings somehow tie them, via an invisible cord, to their country of birth.

There have been dozens and dozens of songs written about this special place called home. One could pick out any language or country in this multicultural world of ours, and one would find songs proclaiming love for home and country.

These songs may be as varied as a simple folk song or a rousing anthem which can stir up deep emotions within us. Homes can be grandiose and elaborate, or they can be a small bungalow or anything in between.

Remember this song? “It’s only a shanty in old Shanty Town, the roof is so slanty it touches the ground … but like a millionaire’s mansion is calling me back.”

Yes, it can even be an old shanty.

One can also remember songs of servicemen in war zones, yearning to be home with their loved ones. Songs such as “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams”. Separation from their home and family must have been especially acute during those special times.

Some folks have never moved from the place where they were born. Growing up in the same house on a quiet street, where everyone knows everyone, is special.

I have a friend who was born in Calgary and is now in her 90s. She delights in telling me all about how things used to be back in the “day.”

Her mind may not be the best these days, but the memories of her home, surrounded by her mother and siblings, are crystal clear.

I envy her a little because I am not so well rooted.

My family moved around a lot, not only from neighbourhood to neighbourhood but from country to county. So, for me, home became anywhere my parents were. I remember their home was always loving and welcoming.

When they moved far away to the eastern United States, I looked forward to every holiday I could spend with them in my home away from home.

As soon as I walked into their house and was surrounded by all the familiar furniture, photographs, paintings, and the aroma of a familiar meal, I was filled with a sense of belonging.

Most of us associate the bests times of our lives with family dinners such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Weddings or any number of things that make us celebrate our togetherness.

One of the most important holidays for our American friends as well as our own is Thanksgiving. My favourite singer, Perry Como, sings a ballade called “There is no place like Home for the Holidays”, and I think we can all relate to that song as it goes on to say, “no matter how far away you roam,”.

It is true because the Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times for travelling whether on the road or in the air.

People are excited about going home and spending time with the most important people and places in their lives.

Humans are not the only ones who treasure a safe and secure home. I recall the movie “Lassie”, and remember how that beautiful dog drove himself mile after mile just to find his way back home.

When he arrived, battered and bruised, he limped into his young masters welcoming arms. It was only a film, but there have been many instances of family pets finding their way home.

We often get stories in the news about a cat or dog finding their way home after weeks and sometimes even years of separation.

Whatever trauma they must have gone through, the journey home was worth it to them.

As I mentioned, home to me was anywhere my parents were, that was where I felt I truly belonged. A friend of mine gave me a wonderful picture of a little calico cat.

Her beautiful brown eyes look up at her owner, and from the look on her face, one can tell she is confident in the fact that she is home. The note above her head reads, “Home is where they love you.”

How true, that is exactly what home means to all of us. It is where we feel safe, where we belong, and most of all, it is where we are loved.