Nothing compares to coming home
There is nothing quite like it.
You grow up in a small town. Your parents have been here all their lives. You know everyone's business, and they know yours.
That's just the way it is in a small town.
Before you graduate from high school, you and your friends swear that you're "getting out of this one-horse town" as soon as you can.
You finish college, get that first big job, and true to your word, you leave.
You leave everything and everyone you've ever known behind.
Leaving the nest.
Flying the coop.
You've finally reached adulthood.
Or, so you think.
It's absolutely amazing how quickly time flies.
Before you know it, that first job has settled into a career, bills have to be paid, and you're receiving that invitation to your 10-year class reunion.
You can't wait to see everyone.
You really notice all the changes in your classmates and friends, which only causes you to notice all the changes in yourself over time.
That mirror doesn't lie, does it?
By the time you receive that 20-year class reunion invitation, you're ready to break that mirror.
Most of you will understand exactly what I'm talking about.
Those of you who haven't reached those milestones yet, just wait.
They'll be here before you know it.
I have always been close to my parents, James Theo and Emmie Lou Grayson.
We are a very tight-knit family.
Unconditional love will do that.
My mother worked in Dan River Mills for thirty years.
There's no substitution for it, and it's the best example for a spoiled daughter.
My mother always said, "I never want you to have to do hard work like that."
I never really understood why she didn't.
My father, as most of you may remember, drove the taxi for the city of Greenville.
He did that from 1946, soon after he returned from World War II, until his death in April of 2000.
The sudden death of a parent.
It leaves a void that just can't be filled.
Making the decision to return home to Greenville was actually an easy one.
It was time.
I have lived away since 1989.
My entire family is here.
I was the one to leave, other than my oldest brother Van Grayson, who was living in Memphis, Tenn., when he passed away in 1983.
Big brothers are wonderful.
Being the baby and the only girl of the family has a lot of advantages.
Van, Lamar, and Britt are protective, aggravating, funny, serious, and, oh, did I mention wonderful?
I'll go ahead and warn you that I'm a big animal lover.
I have four cats.
Samson weighs twenty-one pounds and couldn't make it across the yard if he had to.
If Dr. Bill Watson knew that Samson was that fat, he'd kill me.
However, Sam gives coming home to Greenville four paws up.
How many of you have ever loved a place then left it for a new world and new experiences only to discover that the world you left behind couldn't be replicated anywhere else?
As Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home."
Regina Grayson is a reporter with the Greenville Advocate.
She can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 126 or via email at email@example.com.