Take me home

I’m sitting here in the parking lot of a shopping plaza dictating this blog post to my phone. I can’t say I’ve ever done this before, so we’ll see how it goes…

I was driving through town listening to my country music playlist, which probably has a good 50 songs on it. You just never know what you’re going to get when you step inside my Venza…Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins, Gladys Knight, Missy Elliott…you gotta be flexible riding with me. I tend to flip-flop between genres, depending on my mood. I just got my hair cut and colored this afternoon and was feeling pretty good about myself. Nothing like belting out a Miranda Lambert song while you’ve got good hair. I turn into this parking lot I’m sitting in now, and the classic “Take me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver comes on. I added this to my playlist years ago, because it reminds me of my dad. I must have been about five or six when we were on a road trip. I can’t recall where we were going, just that it was out of state and took days, or so it seemed. Funny how I can’t remember the vacation, and only remember this part of the drive. The things that make an impression in your brain…

My dad was driving his old blue pick up truck which had a cab on the back of it. I’m assuming my brother and sister were lying down in the back bed of the truck, because that’s how people rolled back then…safety was for sissies. We didn’t even have seatbelts back then. I can remember sitting in the front passenger seat as my mom snoozed, sprawled out in the backseat. I was kneeling and looking at my dad as he drove. We must of been out in the boondocks because there was only one station to listen to and there was so much interference, he ended up turning it off for several hours. For some reason, I had this John Denver song in my head. It must’ve been the last song played on the radio. Unfortunately for my dad, I only knew the chorus. And like a typical five or six-year-old, I was repetitious. I sang that damn chorus for a good four or five hours…”Country roooooads…..take me hommmmme….to the plaaaaaace…..I belonnnnnng…West Virginia, mountain mommaaaa….take me hommmme….country roads”. I remember my dad looking at me after an hour or so, saying “Don’t you know any other songs?” I kept on singing it. We joked about that for years. Actually, we still occasionally do…when I happen to get to see him.

So, the song comes on as I’m pulling in to the parking lot. And just like that, I go from empowered, good hair rocker to that little girl in the pickup truck. As soon as I hear the first few notes, I smile…because damn, this is one great memory from my childhood. And lately, I have spent so much of my life thinking of the bad childhood memories. As I smile, I’m that little girl, singing to her dad. Laughing. Happy. Content. God, it was so easy back then. All I had to do was be a little girl spending time with her dad. Why did it have to become more complicated than that? It’s not easy anymore. Next thing you know, I’m crying and I haven’t even parked my car. I’m crying because it seems like so long ago. I guess it was. 40 years ago. I wish I could feel that way again…able to relate to that song…“to the place I belong”. I don’t even know where that place is anymore. Jesus, if I knew my life was going to turn out the way it did, I would have taken more advantage of those easy moments with my dad. I had no idea they were so fleeting. 

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7 thoughts on “Take me home”

  1. I love that song too. And riding in the back of a pickup truck – yes!! We did it on a shag rug on beanbag chairs once on a long drive from MA to northern Maine. (My best friend’s family and their truck).

    I too am finally having a few good childhood memories come back to me. That, in and of itself, is evidence enough for me of major progress. For most of my life, I had very few childhood memories. And then, digging up the past revealed tons of pain. Moving through the pain, good memories are finally percolating up. It seems to work that way, I think.

    As for the place you belong, you’re getting there. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you are. Hang in there.

    1. I’m picturing the shag rug and bean bag chair in the truck and it’s making me smile.

      I know I will get there. Where that is, who knows? But I have faith it will show itself to me at some point in my life:)

  2. Growing up is a very complicated process. So often we lose touch with the simplicity of being small and having others to rely on. I am glad you had the memory but I feel the sadness and poignancy in it too.
    Its so hard to find a place of belonging out there in the world at times. I so often feel part of the spiritual path is finding that place in our own heart where we feel most deeply connected to everything, past and present. Lots of love <3

    1. It is definitely more sad and poignant than it is happy. I guess because we have so much pain and conflict in our relationship now. I’m grown up now, but I still yearn for being able to rely on him, and that reality is painful.

      I have to keep my spiritual path in front of me so I can learn to be satisfied relying on myself instead. Not easy.

  3. Oh my dear Jami I so relate with you on this and your words. My Dad passed in an a identity at work as I was gen and like you I remember things burned into my brain while having lost the rest of the day. Who knew things would get so tough down the road. I still have cassette tapes with my dad and me singing or being up to other shenanigans. A wonderful memory but also a tear jerker as there is a lot of underlying pain that surfaces with those memories. Thinking of you and sending a great big hug your way my beautiful butterfly. ??

    1. I think it’s for the best that we never knew how tough things would get down the road, otherwise we never would’ve been able to enjoy those moments, right? Sorry about your dad. Mines still here, but not here…if you know what I mean. It’s almost like I’ve already started the grieving process, even though he’s still healthy and alive. I wish I could make things go back to the way they were, but I have no control over that. Thank you SO much for being you and supporting me???

      1. Thank you Jami and I do know what you mean. I imagine things even tougher in your case and it reminds me of my struggles with Mom. A love that I continue to chase and that is withheld. I have to remind myself and recognize that she is fighting her own demons and perhaps is your Dad. You might be the child, but you can be the wiser person. Xo

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