The Long Walk Home

My home is in Olde Town Clinton and I love being there. But today, I went home to where I grew up - in as much as I am grown. I drove down the street where I lived as a boy but could not find the spot where our house was. It was gone. No markers. No memorable trees. No leftover driveway. So I went across the street and visited Maggie McKee in the care facility where she lives. When I walked in, she was reading the newspaper, catching up on world events. But we talked about the people we had between us and those who had gone on. Important things. It made me feel solid to revisit those times in conversation. It made that time real.

After we said our goodbyes, I left and watched the odometer to measure the distance between where my house might’ve been to where I received my first art lessons from Rose Taylor. It was a little over a half a mile, as I drove through the downtown to where she lived. I walked it by myself before I was in grade school. It was ok because I knew everyone along the way and they waved as I walked by. I walked past Bradshaw’s Grocery, Deweese Dry Goods, Gordon’s Insurance, O.E. Perry’s Drugstore, and Courtney’s Western Auto. I walked over the bridge and thought about how the turtles were the descendants of the turtles I saw as a kid.

That was my world. I walked it again today. But it was more a time in my life than a place. It was the time of my beginnings and my formation.

Mrs McKee will turn 103 on the 21st of this month. Y’all wish her a happy birthday.


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  • I always love your art and recognize so many of the places you paint. After reading your musings from April, I wondered about your hometown. Where did you grow up? My husband grew up in Brookhaven and we recently visited there and had a similar experience to yours.

    • Donna Henderson
  • Lovely account! Sounds very much like the town I grew up in. I enjoyed meeting you at plein Air South several years back!

    • Theresa