Life has granted me the opportunity to travel mostly within the states. In those travels, I have seen many places and met people from all over the world. One of the things that stands out to me is beauty can be found anywhere if you’re looking for it.

Another lesson I’ve learned in my interactions with others is people are just people regardless of their origin. We all want the same basics from life. We all want to be happy even though that means different things to different people. With most people, I believe the things that bring us joy changes with age. The older I get, material things have less and less to do with my happiness. Time spent with family and friends brings far more joy than anything that can be purchased. And regardless of my travels, there is nowhere on earth like home.

I’m very fortunate to continue living in Canton where I grew up. I’ve never felt the need to spread my wings and move elsewhere. My mother, my daughter and her fiancé’, my brother Craig and most of his family, and Vicki and her girls all live within 30 minutes of the place I call home. I see Mama and Lindsey on a regular basis because of the ease of travel. I don’t see my brother like I wish I did. Don’t misunderstand this as there being a problem. There isn’t. I love my brother and his family. Our lives just run in different directions. He and I both can go see Mama anytime since we live so close. It dawned on me recently I’ve taken this for granted. Her home she shared with Daddy will always be open to any of her kids or grandkids who need a place to lay their head. It’s their home and therefore ours. Nevertheless, the house where I was raised in the Keithsburg Community will always be home to me.

Except for her four girls, Vicki’s family lives just outside of Richmond, Virginia in a town called Crozier. Crozier is very reminiscent of what Canton was years ago. It’s a beautiful piece of God’s creation that she called home during her childhood. She has loving parents, a loving sister, and a wonderful brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, that treat me like I’ve always been a part of the family. Crozier is 600 miles from Canton. Vicki can’t go home on a whim. It usually takes planning and scheduling to make a trip that far. The thing is, sometimes we all just want to go home. Even if only for a little while. What I’ve taken for granted, she must work to make happen. Knowing she had several days off from work, I asked her if she would like to go home. She excitedly said yes. So, we loaded up and made the trip. We didn’t even tell them we were coming. It’s here in Crozier that I’m writing this column after everyone else has gone to bed for the night. Watching her with her parents, just being their child and seeing the joy it brought to their faces, made the long trip worth every mile. Vicki tells me sometimes that she’s so happy it comes out of her eyes. This was one of those times and it had nothing to do with me. She was home with her Mama and Daddy, and it was a joy to watch.

When Daddy got sick like so many others, he always wanted to go home. Even when he was home, it wasn’t the home he was looking for. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t find it. At the time I couldn’t understand it. I don’t fully understand it now. What I do understand is home is more than the four walls and a roof. It’s the people that make up the home and the love they have for one another. On a fall night five years ago, I saw a content look on my Daddy’s face for the first time in years. He had seen home and he was headed there. He looked at me and nodded goodbye before he left. There was no fear on his face. He found his home.

If I’m able, my daughter and Vicki’s daughters will have a home to come to when they need it. No questions. No judgments. Just love and acceptance. Exactly as our parents would accept us. There really is no place like home. Amen!

Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Canton.

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