An English In Kentucky



















August 18th 2009

    The metropolitan world is these days a little removed from that part of earth where I live.  For some of us distance has become a parts store in a neighboring county.  And a one hour drive to the west has become unnecessary adventure.  But sometimes these long journeys have to be made.     

    I say this even though a "Home Town" is unfamiliar to my experience.  I know the idea from others as either the most perfect place or the most imperfect place.  I can look for it in my mind and find only a series of opportunities.  Each one of which had good parts and bad parts, but never in my mind do I hear the song.  

    Nor have I sympathy for anyone in the grown world who defines home as a distant place and yearns for it as though it were lost love.   It is therefore no wonder, I think, that I still have no real clue what "homecoming" is, beyond some sort of unstated permission to briefly misbehave in a rampant and mischievous manner.



    Nonetheless the big town, an hour's drive from us, has men and women who think of it as home, and for them this town must contain one or other version of "homecoming".  So it is not my role to tell them what a strangely horrible place it is they live.  As well, being an incorrigible outsider I have anyway been trained to consider positives even in the oddest places.  

    The big town has a pretty name and it has a magnificent and rather snooty book store, on one wall of which there is a mural depicting authors.  It is always fun to go there and stare up at Kafka, and to ask the self whether Rabindranath Tagore is represented correctly.  But this time we turned right instead of going straight on.  Our destination a building that looks like either a bank or a funeral home, but which in fact belongs to the medical profession.  A architectural synonym I thought most unattractive and yet I had to respect for its purity of expression.

    I will apparently live a little longer, which may or may not be wise, and as we broached the final legs of our return journey I did indeed feel mischievous, which is in my view a version of "homecoming".  

tim candler

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