FINDING MY WAY HOME
“It was then that I realized I could never lose my way
In such a place
the thought was absurd
like getting lost in your own house.
Was I losing my way?
or finding my way home?
from “Finding My Way Home” by Shelly Moore
David and Lois Jones moved their family of six to Smithfield, Virginia when I was just a lad of three years. I really cannot remember much about the event, but we moved from our farmhouse, which was located on a dirt road just outside of Zuni, Virginia all the way to the big town of Smithfield. The move must have been traumatic for my parents because now they had to be concerned about how they were going to protect their precious little adventurous boy who could easily get distracted and wander out in front of traffic. You see on the farm we had a large front yard that stretched from the house all the way alongside the lane to the road, and at the end of the yard was a fence with an opening for the lane. Now we had cars traveling at a much faster pace on Cary Street within 15 feet from our front porch. Fortunately, we had a small front yard surrounded by an English boxwood hedge and a larger side yard, which offered plenty of room to play. Dad took a section of the hedge out on each side of our front yard so I could easily pass through without ever going in or near the street. Mom and Dad set my boundaries to ensure I would not venture near the road. Of course, I tested those boundaries at times and sure enough, discipline was applied to the “seat of education”. In addition to setting physical boundaries to protect me, Mom and Dad instilled morals in each of us so we would know the difference between right and wrong to prepare us to be good citizens. And yes, I tested those boundaries as well and once again there would be that “educational” experience.
As I grew older and showed some evidence that I had learned from our education periods I was allowed to cross the street “with permission” and supervision. There was a lot to do on the other side of the street. There was G. K. Nelms and Raymond Hunnicutt to play with, Mrs. Bud “Go Go” Gwaltney to visit, and then there was the “lot”! You know every neighborhood has one. A place where the kids on the street can gather for a number of physical activities. Now, our lot was not just an empty vacant lot, no sir. Our lot had a tall, reach-to-the-sky water tower on it. In those days the small white building shown in the
picture was not there and the lot was at least 5 times bigger. At least that is how I remember it. We spent hours playing football, kickball, baseball, and other childhood games on that lot. Little did I realize the significance that lot and water tower would play in my life as my parents expanded my boundaries and I was allowed to move freely throughout the town and across the bridge over into neighborhoods such as Pagan Pines, Red Point Heights, and Pagan Point. I guess you could say my physical boundaries were replaced with expectations that I would be the type of person that I had been raised to be, knowing right from wrong and behaving accordingly.
During many of my adventures around my beloved childhood town of Smithfield, there were areas that all I had to do was look up and in the distance in front of me, I would see that water tower that stood across the street from my house. It was in those times I knew I could always find my way home no matter where I was. All I had to do was look for the water tower and it would lead me back to love and security.
Though it has been forty plus years since I moved away from Smithfield, every time I drive through or by the town and see the water tower, I know exactly where home was. I guess you could say the water tower and the “moral compass” my parents instilled in me both serve to help me “FIND MY WAY HOME!”