Feels Like Home

Growing up, a lot of us said we were gettin’ out of this small town and finding more to life than the Farm Road, Main St., and Walmart.

I tried. I tried going to UCA for a semester.

It wasn’t home though. There was no one to call when I wanted spaghetti on Wednesday nights before church.

No one to cruise the Sonic at 8pm for a 1/2 price milkshake without getting on a major road.

You didn’t find a familiar face in Walmart to visit with for 15 minutes in the middle of grocery shopping.

There was no farm road to walk.

So I came home.

Literally.

By Thanksgiving I had cried at the kitchen counter to my parents to please let me come home and go to SAU.

They finally believed I genuinely wanted to come home for the right reasons, so as soon as I went back after Thanksgiving I was packing and bringing things home.

The week of finals, my car was packed & I was waiting for the RA to check-off my dorm room as empty.

I couldn’t get to my little red car fast enough, and there was no “bittersweet” moment of leaving town.

It was more like Smokey & the Bandit booking it down the interstate for the exit sign to Prescott.

So I came home.

Some said I failed out & had to, but I literally was home sick.

It had been portrayed that staying to go to college in our small town was a cop-out, and I thought I was too smart for that. I was better than that. Etc. Etc. Etc.

On the contrary, I was not and neither is anyone else.

So I came home.

I enrolled at Southern Arkansas University, lived at home, and worked 2 jobs throughout college.

Now looking back. SAU was home.

At SAU, my professors knew me; not a Student ID, not a name, or a major. My professors knew me.

For example, my professor who taught all of my math courses the semester I had Piper went beyond the call of duty for me to come in 4 days post-op to take all of my finals back-to-back-to-back-to-back. He knew I was young, married, and had just had an emergency c-section & needed some extra help to be able to finish the semester because he knew me.

He made sure I was comfortable and had anything I needed, and made sure I was certain I wanted to go through with all my exams.

I got in a bind because of course scheduling once and the head of the College of Education bent over backwards making things work. One of the other College of Ed. professors checked in with me monthly telling me she’d been praying for me & my family as I was trying to finish school and how she hoped all was well with my new baby.

{because}

Mulerider Country was home for me even though I took it for granted my whole 18 years before I understood.

I took for granted the Farm Road & animals to pet & the donkey {that as far as my 5 year old self is concerned is named Princess}. I took for granted one of the top business schools in Arkansas and probably the nation. I took for granted having a university that was basically it’s own town because people told me run as fast as I could to something bigger.

I didn’t need or liked bigger & “better”.

I needed and liked home.

I liked {and still like} running into the President’s wife at the store and being able to visit about her little girl’s latest adventures.

I liked walking through and my professors remembering who I was and asking how I was and how Piper was.

I liked being able to ask for help.

I liked and still like walking the beloved Farm Road.

I liked being home.

So as the girls & walked the Farm Road over Spring Break, the thought crossed my mind that I hope the girls choose to stay “home.”

I hope they choose to be Muleriders like the last 4 generations did.

I hope they find their brick in the alumni road like mine & the husband’s, their grandparents, their great-grandparents, & a great-great-grandparent or 2.

So we walked the Farm Road, and we will keep walking the Farm Road.

So here’s to you SAU & the Farm Road because there is no better slogan that fits than “Feels like Home” and there’s no truer statement ever said than…

“There’s no place like home.”

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