The Road Home

This past week one of my writing Jaunty Quill friends, Nancy Robards Thompson, asked readers to name their most prized possessions–the things they couldn’t do without. I don’t consider myself overly burdened by my things, but there are a few that are important to me. I got a chance to figure out what they were when we moved from a rambling house in Missouri to a much smaller place in Boston back in 2007. I was forced to cull my possessions till I was left with only the essentials.

The Road Home

One of those “must-have” pieces is this painting my dad did when he was only 16. I don’t know if he ever gave it a name, but I’ve always thought of it as “The Road Home.” It’s a softly impressionistic piece with heavy amounts of paint hanging from the big tree and a palette that reminds me of early Van Gogh canvases.  In contrast with the cool, windswept rest of the painting, the only warm color is the bright light spilling out of the windows of the house. It draws me right in.

When I was growing up, my dad was a railroader and, as such, he was gone from home a lot. He missed lots of the concerts and plays I was in. But I never felt neglected. When the phone rang in the middle of the night and he rose to go to work in below zero weather, I knew it was so my sisters and I could remain in our snug beds. My dad was all about providing for his family, creating that warmth and light, that snug haven at the end of the long cold road.

I’m not able to be with my dad on this Father’s Day, but my heart is there and I hope he can feel it. Next year, we’ll have moved back to Missouri and I’ll be able to celebrate the day with him then. For now, I can only travel the miles of “The Road Home” in my mind.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! You’ve always been my hero.

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