Going Home

05 Dec

After endless miles of interstate, I have finally reached McMinnville, Tennessee. I immediately recognize the wagon wheels marking the entrance to a tree-lined lane. I follow the gravel stretch back to a semi-secluded cottage nestled in the heart of middle Tennessee. Exiting the car, I am greeted by a small black barking dog. I try to coax her to me. I even call her by name, but she stands back – barking. She follows me around to the rear of the house. Just past the wrap around deck – I see it – the rustic barn stocked with fishing rods, reels, and tackle for use at the bass-stocked pond. The air is filled with the sweet aroma of honeysuckle in full bloom. Rose bushes of every color are bursting with buds ready to blossom. The garden is a lush deep green. I spot large, juicy, green tomatoes and cucumbers that are almost ready for harvesting. Five acres of rolling green landscape display a sampling of the areas finest nursery stock from flowering shrubs to weeping willow and blue spruce pine trees. I wander through the back door of the small house. Everything is just as I remembered it. Approaching the front room, a lump forms in my throat. There is the bar. I run my hand across the smooth lacquered finish. Then I notice the t.v., resting on a shelf that is mounted from the ceiling in the corner. A replica of the Budweiser Clydesdale team and wagon are proudly displayed next to a Coor’s Light clock. It is a miniature version of my childhood home – the small town bar my parents owned for forty years. I try to hold back. I can’t stop the salty flood of tears streaming down my cheeks. My husband holds me tight and I cry longer and harder than I have ever cried before. This was the vacation destination I chose for my family that 4th of July. Instead of a relaxing week in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau, I am here to bury my father.

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