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August Blog Challenge - Day 19

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

I like this one. A question full of possibilities.  It lets me dream a little.  Indulge in the geographic cure.  The idea that if I just went somewhere else, all the negative things would melt away.  There's appeal in the idea of a fresh start. Of being able to recreate yourself, your life, in a new place, leaving the baggage behind.  Problem is it never works.  Wherever you go, there you are.  Besides, that's what Mondays are for - a whole new chance to do it differently, a clean slate, a brand new week.

And interestingly enough, this question is not just dreams, not just possibilities for me.  I am at a stage in my life where my children are grown and pretty well self-sufficient.  The house is too big for just Kenny and I to rattle around in.  Over the last few years, I've been intending to sell it and move. What paralyzes me is my zoo and the problems inherent in moving a menagerie of that size.  And a sense of inertia. It's easier to stay than it is to go.  I'm comfortable, complacent even.  But I'm entering a new phase of my life, and it's certain that change is coming.  Relocation may be one of them.  So I often think about the possibilities posed by today's question.
  • I could live in New York, learn about subways and tunnels and bridges and boroughs, marvel at skyscrapers and pieces of art, make dinner and get hugs every day.
  • I could live in a downtown rooftop apartment in Seattle, listen to the rain, walk to the market, be near the water, close to friends and family, drink coffee and watch the people.
  • I could live in Long Beach, watch the tides rise and fall outside my window, hear the water, eat seafood, see the sun rise in the morning and feel the peace fill my soul.
  • I could live in California, have brunch with Cheri, hear her wisdom and insight, laugh with her over coffee, soak up the sunshine and walk in warm sand.
  • I could live in Chicago, take water taxis, shop, and do yoga with Cathy, be inspired by her resilience and love of life.
  • I could live in Portland, visit great little hidden-away restaurants, sit in Rufus and Shelley's hot tub, go to the bookstore.
But I live here.  In Walla Walla.  For now, it's where I belong.
Some of the reasons I stay:
  • Walking downtown, hugging friends, strangers saying hello, with genuine smiles. It's truly the friendliest place there is, kind of like Disneyland.
  • WWCC - where could I ever find a place with work like I do there?  And people like those I work with?
  • Summer evenings on my back deck, black sky with a million stars, the heat of the day fading away, the sound of the sprinklers.
  • Coming home to Kenny and Craig and Kris, the big hugs, the "Hi Mom!" They go downtown and see friends. They work at their jobs. They compete in skiing, bowling, track, baseball, basketball. They have so much support. This town loves like no other.  This summer, they played on a softball league.  Craig would go up and help little Haley bat, standing behind her, all four hands on the bat, swinging.  He'd tap her on the back and she'd run to first, grinning. Other teams would help them out.  Once a guy on the other team actually crawled on hands and knees from third base toward home so our catcher could make the play. Dozens of people came to watch their games and cheer them on.  The outpouring of love and acceptance from Walla Walla is palpable.  You can touch it.  You can feel it surround them.
  • Frosted, Bright's, The Olive, Saffron, Coffee Perk, El Sombrero, Walla Walla Bread Company, Clarette's, Maple Counter, taco trucks, the Shell station. Places you can't find in other towns. Places where, like Cheers, they know your name.  And your order.
  • Kate and Jeana - while these two dynamos are off most of the time, building their own lives, this is their home base.  I love when the two of them are here. They talk about everything and nothing.  Sometimes I get to talk with them.  Sometimes I can just hear the murmur of their voices from the next room.  It fills my heart and makes me happy that they come here and call it home.
  • This house.  It's filled with dog hair, dust and memories.  Memories of Dave.  Alive and strong, throwing the football in the back yard.  Sitting around the bonfire with his guitar, singing. Reading the Grinch aloud in the living room, his smiling face lit by the Christmas lights on the tree. Memories of Zach and his friends, storming in through the window, lounging on the couches, laughing, reading, making music videos, playing Dance Dance Revolution or Rock Band, eating everything in sight. Memories of Kate dancing down the hallway or the kitchen, sitting on the roof, with friends in the bathroom with makeup and straightening irons for hours, then coming down the stairs before a dance, her date with wide eyes, "Wow!"  All three of them laying on my bed, talking or watching tv, laughing, all of us together.
  • Neighbors.  Real neighborhoods where kids run wild and dig in the dirt and slosh in the creek and come in the door without knocking to grab cookies.
  • Places in this town - WaHi and Dave's rock.  A reminder of how he loved that place and the people in it, how those people rallied for him in unbelievable ways.  Our church - full of people who love without condition.  Wheat fields, onions, grapevines.  A pristine skyline of patchwork fields.
  • Peach Basket, the Sweets, and 105* heat.
  • Friday Night Lights:  the Blue Devils and Homecoming.  Youth football camp.  AAU Basketball.  Baseball and more baseball, traveling all over, then coming home. Bleachers, bleachers and more bleachers, talking with other baseball/basketball/football moms.
  • Klicker's Christmas trees.  Santa and reindeer and usually some snow. The sound of the chainsaw as the tree falls, warming your hands at the burn barrel as they tie the tree to your car roof, seeing young men you've known for years working. And in the summer, Klicker strawberries and corn on the cob.
  • When the ambulance comes to you and the paramedic is someone you've known his whole life. And you get to the hospital, and the doctor is someone you sing beside on Sundays at church.
There are other places I want to be.  But for now, this is home, where I belong.  Dave used to sing John Denver's song "Country Roads" like this:  

Almost heaven, Walla Walla,
Blue Mountains, Walla Walla river,
Life is old there, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong,
Walla Walla,
Mountain mamma, take me home
Country roads


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