I left my home in Tennessee on a July morning over thirty-five years ago. Before that, any traveling I had done was in the South. And except for the two years I was in college in Florida, that travelling was very limited. If you weren’t raised down South, then it’s hard to explain how it becomes a part of who you are.
And yet here I was, leaving behind everything I knew. Even though it’s hard for me to remember all the details of that day, I’m sure I had mixed feelings – I was leaving the place I had known as home, but I was getting ready to embark on a new adventure in my life. If I recall correctly, I cried all the way to the Kentucky state line!
Since I first left “home” over three decades ago, I have driven back and forth over that same route many times. There have been so many changes – changes in the route with better roads and shorter drive times. Changes in the people – loved ones have married, raised families, moved away, and some of them, sadly, have passed on. Of course, I have changed too. I have experienced a life with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, just like all of God’s creation.
I am not the same person who left that Tennessee home over 30 years ago. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that even though I have lived out of the South more than twice as long as I lived in it, I still think of myself as a Southerner. And when I do leave Tennessee, I usually cry all the way to the Kentucky state line!