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Taking Dad Home

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Nobody Enjoys A Funeral - Seeing Family Reminds You Where You Came From

This was the trip that I never wanted to happen. As a traveler, it was the one trip/event that I think I've been most scared of and knew that one day it would be a reality. I also love going "home" and seeing family. It's crazy how much time can pass between visits, but a funeral isn't shouldn't be the cause for family coming together.

As I look back now, my biggest regret as a son, was that I didn't take the time to take my father back to his hometown of Elmore, Ohio. It happens to be my hometown as well, yet I didn't spend the amount of time there that my father did. My father was proud of where he was from, and he should have been. The turn out he had at his funeral, and for being gone for over 30 yrs, was impressive. I hope that many people come out to show their respects when I'm no longer on this earth.

If it weren't for the my family, this trip would have been the most depressing trip I had taken in a long time. Generally I like to travel, especially if it's for family and fun. I wouldn't call my fathers funeral a fun event, but I was going to make the most of it.  And I did just that. More importantly it re-affirmed my belief that family is the most important thing in ones life. For me, I've missed the relationships I've had with my aunts and uncles and all my cousins. We live very different lives, but we all have that common family bond.

Spending time with my cousins is incredible. Moving away at 14 to the other side of the country was traumatic for me. I think it was for my mother and father as well. We had moved around the country prior to 1989, but this was the furthest we had moved. In fact it was the first time we had moved out of the eastern time zone. Both of my parents were moving pretty far from their parents, and I know that wasn't easy.

Although the circumstances of this visit wasn't the most pleasant, it was also the first time that I can honestly say I didn't feel like I was going "home". Yes, Ohio will always be where I am from, but I can say that California is now my "Home". It's where my mom and brother live. It's also where my kids are. I've lived other places in my adult life, like Colorado, Texas, New York, but I keep coming back to California. 

I'll never get into the debate of which place to live is better. I could certainly live other places and be as happy as I am in California, but there were some pretty clear differences that I noticed that caused me to think California is for me. Such as:

  • There is little to no humidity in Cali. Getting off the plane in Detroit nearly killed me
  • We have very few bugs here. The mosquitos were having me for lunch
  • Nothing is open past 10. Although not entirely true, but places you could eat with kids weren't.

There were many things thought that I did really like about Ohio and Michigan:

  • It's so GREEN. There is actual seasons instead of Summer and Spring.
  • Cheap!!!! A beer was incredibly cheap. Gas was half of what we pay in California
  • Freeways/Highways aren't jam packed. The rush hour was truly and hour and I was freely moving. So weird to see
  • People are friendly. It's not that Californians are rude, it's just that midwest folks are so talkative and friendly.

Those are just some of the example I could think of. The picture for this post was taken in Detroit when I took my 18yr old daughter there for the first time. She had never been to Detroit and I wanted her to see where I use to be when I was slightly younger than her and not growing up in Orange County California. I think she could appreciate a little more of where I came from and why I do and act the way I do. I simply grew up in a different place and was influenced by different things.

I love where I am from and I love where I am now. I don't see a change in my immediate future, but I do see more flights back to the midwest and spending time with family. Life is short, and I'd rather spend it with those that I enjoy.

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