It’s not actually my home anymore, but I still think of it as my own. Spending 22 years in the Pacific Northwest was not something I appreciated much growing up, but now that I live in the midwest; traveling back to my hometown is quite a novelty. How many people get to take a ferry across beautiful waters as a part of their ride home? And upon arrival, how many can stand by the water’s edge and 30 minutes later be on a mountaintop? While I’ve lived many places now in my short existance, I would have to say with certainty…”There’s no place like home”.
When I am in Port Angeles, at my parent’s house, I know certain things will always be. There will always be a home-made sign from my dad to announce my arrival. There will always be food in the fridge, pantry, and freezers. Every morning coffee will already be made by my mom and I will sip it slowly as I stare out the window at the waters of the Puget Sound. There will always be plans- for hikes and picnics, games and dinners, family photos and pick-up basketball games. I can always count on a teeth cleaning…quality time with my dear old dad, the dentist. A dinner menu can always be found on my mom’s planner and the computer is never on, (thanks to my dad’s paranoia) so I rarely check the internet while I’m there. There is never a speck of dirt anywhere because my mom has an amazing ability to clean and every morning the Peninsula Daily News can be found on the kitchen counter. Pinocle will always be played around the dining room table and Grandma is never too far away.
However, some things are different.
For the first time, I witnessed my dad hiking with his grandson. As we headed up the side of Hurricane Ridge I listened to my father encourage three year-old Aidan the entire way. I realized this was probably exactly how he talked to me as a child, continually praising me but also prodding me along up mountains and through woods, telling me Bible verses and asking loads of questions along the way. It was surreal to watch my dad hike with his grandson along a trail that he once took me as a child, and even more special is the fact that this was the very same hike he himself often traversed as a child.
I also had the priviledge of accompanying my parents to their 36th wedding anniversary dinner. At first, I was surprised they wanted me to tag along, but my mom reassured me that if it wasn’t me; they’d ask someone else. We dined at the Lake Cresent Lodge overlooking a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and trees. In my extensive history of my own anniversary dinners (all 2 of them), Bart and I have made it a tradition to ask each other five questions about the past year…as a sort of remembrance and “look back”. I decided to ask a few questions of my parents- spanning all 36 years. I discovered that my parents know each other very well. One of my favorite answers was to the question “How has your spouse changed?”. My dad quickly answered that “Anne isn’t as in awe of my ideas and adventures as she was in the beginning” and my mom replied “Your father has mellowed out over the years.” I laughed out loud at my mother’s response; seeing how my husband, who only met my dad 3 years ago, affectionately calls him “the energizer bunny.” Pushing 60 now, he still plays hoops and hikes mountains more than most men my age. So I can completely understand why my mom isn’t as “in awe” as she once was- she would be one worn out lady if she tried to keep up with Pops.
I could go on and on, sharing about the raw simplicity of Port Angeles, Washington. Though I could never see myself moving back, I am so thankful that I get to return year after year and truly believe “there’s no place like home”.