From time to time I write about observations I have about the world around me. I do not pretend to be a proficient writer, but I do enjoy putting what I see into words. I have friends who stop by my garage to see what I am working on or tell me about what they are working on. We end up telling each other our latest stories while standing in the driveway. I will add to this page when I write something. Hope you enjoy this page as much as I do creating it.
From an early age I recall being an adventuresome type. My brothers and I would explore the woods behind our home and pretend to be Daniel Boone or some other explorer/hunter. At the end of the day, we would return home to the safety of our family. Later I would take our john boat and motor down the bayou that was at the end of our street. There were some untouched wildernesses all along the bayou that had snakes and alligators that I would see in the water or along the banks. I always ended the day back home, safe and sound.
One summer I stayed with one of my grandparents while another brother stayed with the other grandparents. My third brother would go along with Mom and Dad as they traveled to places where Dad would continue training for his job. The next summer we switched around, I stayed with the other grandparents, my brother who stayed there went with Mom and Dad and the brother who went last year stayed with the grandparent I stayed with the year before. The year I got to tag along with Mom and Dad, I was six years old. We went to Dearborn, Michigan. The one thing I recall from that venture is going through Greenfield Village. I could not wait to tell my brothers about it when we picked them up from our grandparent’s house. Pulling into our driveway at the end of that journey, I was so glad to be back home.
As I grew older, my adventures took me further away from home. When I was 15 years old, I flew to Monterrey to meet up with a family friend who was a missionary in Mexico. He had asked me to be a photographer for a mission trip. We took a bus to Mexico City where we boarded a train to go further south. After 32 hours on the train, we arrived in Chiapas near the Guatemalan border. The first few days we stayed with a family in the village until we moved to a nearby ranch. Years later I found out that since I was the only American in the region, the people of the village wanted to protect me from the Sandinistas that were seen patrolling the area. I was humbled when I found out the reason for the move. I had no idea at the time. There were some days I was told to stay at the ranch while most of the people I knew went to the village to work at the simple church. I would spend the days walking around the vast property taking pictures and was starting to get bored. I recall sitting on the front porch of the main ranch house thinking of home. That was the time I was building my dune buggy so I would mentally think through the next steps of creating the car. A couple of weeks later we were driven to the nearest airport. I watch with amazement as a Boeing 727 turned in to final to land on the dirt runway. The dust cloud that followed the aircraft was huge. The plane taxied over to where we were standing with our luggage. I saw a truck drive up and down the dirt runway spraying water to keep the dust down for the upcoming take off. We left most of our luggage on the ground next to the aircraft to be loaded in the cargo hold. As I settled into my seat, I watched all the other people who filled the plane searching for places to store their ‘maletas’ (suitcases) for the flight. For some reason I can still clearly hear those conversations as fellow travelers talked about who was going to sit where and where to put their carry-on luggage even though they were all speaking Spanish. The aircraft was buttoned up and the engines came to life. The truck that had been spraying water on the dirt strip was back at the terminal refilling his water tank. We slowly made our way to the end of the runway. I thought it was odd that I could not hear engines one and three throttle up as we taxied but now it makes sense. The pilots did not want to stir up dust with the lower mounted engines. As we lifted off the runway, the aircraft turned so I could see the huge dust cloud that was left behind. I was on my way home!
A few years later, I went on the biggest adventure of my life, I backpacked around Europe alone. I spent the first three months in Switzerland learning about Faith and Prayer at L’Abri. I spent the last two months practicing Faith and Prayer. I had little to no money and as a lone American traveling, I was in danger which I was not aware of the time. One time while on an overnight train from Italy to Austria the train stopped in the middle of nowhere. A group of people surrounded the train, most of whom had rifles. Each rifle had a flower in the barrel, I guess to put us at ease while they searched the train. Two of them stopped by my cabin and looked in, then continued. As I look back, I believe if they had known I was an American, I would have become their ‘guest’. With my long blond hair and wire rimmed glasses, I looked more like my German ancestors, so a local person was no value to them. I later found out that this group was known as the Red Brigade, a radical left-wing group that operated in Italy. After visiting Salzburg, Austria I made my way to London via Paris. My stand-by flight home was out of Gatwick Airport in London. Every day I would pack my things into my backpack and go to the airport in hopes of getting on a flight home. I was turned down several days in a row so I would do it again the next day. As I spent more days in London, I would not say I was getting homesick, but I was longing for home as I enjoyed the sights and sounds of England. Flying on standby is more affordable, but you may have to wait many days like I did. Finally, I was let on the flight since a seat became available. When the Braniff 747 lifted off the runway and turned west, I was on my way back home.
Many years later I had my own family, I had to work away from home installing AV equipment. I recall one evening sitting at a truck stop listening over a cell phone to a concert of a school band my kids were in. I was longing to be back home to see the concert, but you do what you must do to provide for your family. I missed birthdays, thanksgiving, and other holidays away from home. I made many trips for work before I was offered a job that did not demand travel.
This morning while praying I said that I longed for my forever home. This home where I live now is only temporary. As I see conflict and evil all around me in the world, I am thankful that I am only traveling through this life. This is not my home. I think of good friends who have gone home, I am sort of envious of them. I will see them again one day when it is my time to go home. I am not homesick, but I do long for home.