The melodrama of going home is oft repeated. Only as recently as several days ago for example a friend of mine wrote her own rendition of "home". It is whatever one might say an inescapable and ever-popular motif howsoever fashioned or delivered, and always somewhat tearful. I happen to share this view personally not just philosophically. Like the title of the song itself, "home" means something different to everyone.
Each year when we return home from our winter sojourn on the Atlantic Ocean in southern USA I am perpetually delighted to regain the throes of our environment. While the putative reason may be nothing other than the familiarity of surroundings and the furnishings it is of course considerably more - obvious important things like family, friends and history. No matter how assiduously one might seek throughout the universe to echo the feeling of home there is seldom anything that comes close to capturing its peculiarity and magnestism. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with early inbred customs such as native habits formed in the womb or as a baby. But I do feel it has something to do with birth (the so-called natural citizenship issue) and adolescent experience (at least it does for me). By way of example when I left Ontario (where my public school and undergraduate studies had been conducted) and went to Nova Scotia to study law I never escaped the connection with "Upper Canada". It wasn't just a local quip by the Eastern Canadians. As much as I adored the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean in Halifax I always somehow knew I would return to Ontario.
For the past 42 years of my life I have lived and practiced law in Almonte, Ontario. From the moment I arrived there with my yellow Labrador puppy in June of 1976 I felt instantly "at home" and have never looked back. Clearly Almonte signifies the bulk of my mortal existence (I am now 69 years of age). It would be impossible adequately to portray the depth of emotions which insinuate my life in Almonte. What I can say with considerable pride however is that the same people who were so much a part of my life 42 years ago are still so to this day. And the many further associations I have developed with people throughout the span of 42 years continue to thrive as well, to the point of being absolutely endearing and even enchanting. I would be authentically hard pressed to say I have any enemies in Almonte (though I am not so foolish as to imagine there are not those who denigrate me for one reason or another; but to my knowledge those people are not and have never been part of a direct relationship). I don't say this as a talent show accolade but rather merely as an observation of what I consider to be the supreme delight of Almonte, it's generosity, openness and magnanimity. Certainly there are those whose company I can bear the deprivation of; but I do not include them among those with whom I have associated and interacted. In the result, going home for me is assured to be an uplifting experience.
During my four decades in Almonte we have lived in several different places, each of which I can say without hesitation has been for me a dream. I won't however deny that our current digs are my unqualified favourite - and we don't even own the joint, we rent from one of those close and long-standing associates I mentioned previously. Going home to Jamieson Mills is for me like descending into the thick icing of a moist chocolate cake! Horrible metaphor I know, but it captures the visceral pleasure of the place. I will nonetheless acknowledge more prosaically that presently for six months of the year I am happy to forego the acquaintance of Canadian ice, snow and slush - although I as readily admit we've already candidly discussed the day when that privilege is no longer possible (for health or insurance reasons, say) and in which case we have already professed that it is no indignity to remain in Almonte whatever the weather!
For the time being we cherish our equal international diversions. But as I say, going home is never anything but soulful and stirring. Already I am planning social communions with dear friends and family, among them a couple in Ottawa who also spend part of their winter on Hilton Head Island where - strangely - we met (thanks to their French bulldog Max).
My mind is already filled with ambitions to Neat Café in Burnstown, Ivy Lea Club on the St. Lawrence Seaway, pancake breakfasts at local sugar camps, Calabogie, Renfrew, Carleton Place, Pelican Restaurant in Ottawa and of course just being anywhere in Almonte, lingering with friends, bicycling on Country Street, wandering about by the Mississippi River or taking in a show or concert at the Old Town Hall. I know I can count on my neighbours for stimulating conversation about local news and politics, things which frankly mean so much more to me individually than the tarsome activities of the Republican Party and Donald J. Trump (as entertaining as the escapades may be).