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What Home Means to Me
Dated: October 21 2018
***This is no ordinary real estate blog. There are other places on this site to find information on buying and selling real estate, and of course if you have a specific question, I’m always available to help. But this blog is about the things that are important to me, and I’m hoping you can relate. So I’ll get right to it and try to explain to you a little about what “home” means to me.***
I grew up in a small Southeast Texas town where all around you could see expanses of farmland, high-school sports were king (our girl’s basketball team garnered just as much attention as the football team), and the food is heavily influenced by Cajun cuisine. The big industries are oil refining and health care, so the services plant workers need are abundant, dominated by restaurants and bars, real estate, and retail. The blue-collar folks punch in and out every day, skilled and tasked with heavy, dangerous work, making enough to create good lives for themselves and their families.
My grandfather on my dad’s side was transferred to Texas from Kentucky to work at the DuPont refinery. After a couple of moves, he and my grandmother (Pops and Gran we called them), built a house in a new golf course community. They were some of the first settlers in Pinewood, and he designed the house and built much of it himself. They created a warm and inviting home, raising a large, diverse, and colorful family in that house over the course of 50 years.
The small dining room had in it a large table my grandfather built out of a full 4x8 piece of plywood, trimmed sanded & stained, and always dressed in a tablecloth. It filled up every spare inch of that room, so we kids had to sit at a card table in the living room. One of the best days of my life was when I graduated to the big table and had a place of honor right next to my Gran. Her place at the table was the chair closest to the door to the kitchen so she could hop up and get anything that was needed, which almost always included the rolls she forgot to get out of the oven.
The conversation was smart and lively (and loud), and everyone who rotated in and out of the fold was accepted into that home with grace and love. All of us felt proud of our big crazy family, and it was a litmus test to bring our friends over to see if they could hack it. But really, we knew not everyone was as lucky as we were, so we loved sharing the love.
It just seemed natural, as I grew old enough, to help prepare meals for the hoards. Gran did most of the cooking, but Pops helped with prep, carving meats, and had specific dishes he liked to make (always humming while he focused on his task). There was so much to do, I jumped right into an apprentice role and soaked in everything I could from them. I learned to make gumbo, fry chicken, and internalized the cooking times and methods for different foods. Gran's recipe cards were written in her hand and are marked up with notes and splashes from all the years of meal making. Treasures.
I remember every inch of that kitchen. The blue and tan whispy wall paper, the honey colored cabinets Pops made, the space conserving pantry built into the wall, the 48” classic range with double ovens above the retractable stovetop, the HORNBUCKLE painting my cousin now has, and the faux stained glass Café sign and the Apology sign that will both forever hang on my kitchen wall.
I’ve gone on long enough, but I hope I’ve painted a picture for you of what it was like growing up in that house. Those experiences shaped who I am and what’s important to me. Home and family are the best things in life; nothing stays the same, but if you’re lucky, you get a good run. These are the kinds of memories I hope for people every time I help someone find a home.