My office sits in the middle of Seaver College where a few thousand students will take final exams this week. Just up the hill in the world I inhabited for the past nine years are hundreds of law students sitting for final exams this week, too. Meanwhile, my youngest daughter is facing final exams in her study abroad experience six thousand miles away.
But I’m happy as can be. Been there, done that, as cool people used to say (and obviously I still do).
Well, there is the tiniest bit of guilt at the lack of cumulative examinations in my own life. No, my bad, I think that was just a little indigestion. I’m good now.
It has been interesting to compare the way the bulk of undergraduate students and law students cope with the stresses of finals season. One set apparently prefers letting stress go through singing loudly and/or funny Internet videos while the other likes to curl up in a fetal position and cry. I’ll let you guess which is which.
My job is and has been to offer kind smiles in the general direction of the test-takers wherever they happen to be. It is good work that seems to be appreciated.
I guess this reflects life in general. Sometimes you face testing. Sometimes you are off the hook. When the latter applies, encourage the former. It has been my experience that you will appreciate it when it is your turn to be tested.
“You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.” – Maya Angelou
At week’s end I intend to be two thousand miles away from home to attend the homecoming basketball game of my high school alma mater. Pretty weird, huh, to leave home to come home? My life has turned out like that.
I am at home in California, and I have a driver’s license and mailing address and license plates to prove it. California is where everything I own in this world is located. It is where I live and work and go to sleep at night. California is filled with relationships and experiences and places that I treasure. I know it like the back of my hand and love it here. Home is where you hang your hat, and my hat hangs in California.
But Arkansas has always been my home. It is the land of my birth. Born, and raised. Arkansas is where I fell in love and became both a husband and a father, and it is where both of my sweet parents were laid to rest. Arkansas is filled with relationships and experiences and places that I treasure. I know it like the back of my other hand, and I love it there. You can never really leave home, so I never really left Arkansas.
Arkansas and California could not be more different if they tried. And I’m pretty sure that they do. But they are both dear to me.
It promises to be a strange week. I haven’t lived in Arkansas in twenty years and only visit on rare occasions, and I could not tell you the last time I watched the Falcons play a homecoming basketball game despite having participated in so many of them in years that are now long gone. But I will feel at home there, because that is where I will be. Home.
Pliny the Elder famously said that home is where the heart is. Well, my heart has two homes.
I will leave my love for Mississippi for another day.
Posted in Original Essays
Tagged arkansas, basketball, california, cra, crowley's ridge academy, falcons, heart, home, homecoming, love, maya angelou, paragould, pliny the elder