Going home

Journal columnistAugust 21, 2014 

We all hail from somewhere. And after having a chat with my younger brother and sister-in-law over the weekend, I am reminded how desperately we wish to get out of that “somewhere” at the age of 18.

As I sat on the back deck near the corn field with them, I couldn’t help but be reminded of all those feelings. Like a nervous static, the terrifying idea of being stuck in a sleepy little town made me worry … I can’t possibly spend the rest of my life here!? What’s here for me but having kids and boring old life?

My, how the tables have turned.

I love going home now. And not to my actual hometown of St. Joseph, which recently has two new viral claims to fame. First, it was named one of the unhappiest cities in America. And it was recognized as home of the worst commercial for the area shopping mall, which I think speaks for itself.

The hometown of my heart happened upon me at the magical age of 18 ... Maryville, Mo. I landed there for college and fell in love with it. Maryville, for me, is the home of my favorite football team, cheeseburger and in-laws.

There’s nothing like going home, especially this time of year when the crops are lush and green. The stretch of highway passes by calmly as the waves of corn and soybean rows sway gently in the breeze. It’s so serene and peaceful. We visited last weekend, and it was just the tranquil escape my busy mind needed.

Sometimes a nice weekend is just what the doctor ordered, like taking time to do the crossword with family at Neighbors Cafe, or a peaceful evening at Music in the Park in downtown Lee’s Summit. When in Lee’s Summit, I experience that same homey warmth that I felt in Maryville, a sense of community. It is truly refreshing.

I think it’s the charm of suburban living and a slower pace that grab my attention. And most importantly, the amazing care for others. I want to live in a place where police officers band together for a young boy with a brain tumor. A place that encourages exploration of the arts with Fourth Friday. A place that has a little fun with the ice bucket challenge.

These things all serve as a great reminder to take the focus off ourselves and ask the question: Couldn’t we all benefit from helping out a neighbor? Share a bit of our time, take in the sights, get lost in long conversation over a home-cooked meal with loved ones?

It’s a beautiful thing when no one picks up their phone for a while.


Ashlee Hendrix is the Lead Designer for the Lee’s Summit Journal.

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