Sunday, May 15, 2011

Omaha

I love my little big city.

Yesterday, I drove across the breadth of this town that I love, my window rolled down with the smell of freshly-cut grass in the air. My new used books on the seat next to me, and a smile on my face.

I know the streets: which are one ways, which traffic lights aren't timed with the others, where the potholes and dips are, which neighborhoods have outlets. I have walked through the neighborhoods, ran down the streets, and drove the interstate. I have my favorites, like Farnam and 16th and I will always love the rundown streets of Little Italy.

I have shopped in the stores, ate at the restaurants, drank at the bars.

I interact with the people: I I have honked at those fuckers who cut me off, I have swayed with strangers at concerts, I have made small talk with people in check-out lines. I have even began to consider them all being clothed in red on Husker game days endearing.

A friend told me about a used book store, so I went there for their closing sale. The owner asked me if I was from Omaha, and I said "yes," which is probably what I say if anyone asks and I'm not in Omaha. But then I corrected myself, and said, "no, I'm from the Seattle area." That reminded me:

There was a time in my life when I knew nothing of this place. And I could have never known it. I could have heard it mentioned in a song or seen Eppley Airfield on "Up in the Air," or thought it was the capital of Nebraska. But it could have never been a part of me. I could have never known of the Henry Doorly Zoo or what ConAgra Foods manufactures or who Warren Buffett is.

But I do. Omaha wormed its way into my being and made a nest there. Or I wormed my way into Omaha and made a nest here. Even though it's where I'm from, Omaha has become my home. I moved away from it, and in doing so, longed to move back. It got in my blood: Dodge Street became my main artery. I know this place better than I know the place I grew up. And somehow, the place where I grew into adulthood now means more to me than the place where I grew out of childhood.

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
~Maya Angelou

2 comments:

melinda sue said...

bingo. me too. although a part of me still longs for something else. a part of me always will.

Donna Boucher said...

Holly...I was going to throw Melinda under the bus on this one...and she did it herself.

When she went to Arizona, she wanted to move to Arizona.
Even in the horrid weather in Chicago last weekend...she said, I would like to move here!!

I laughed...and so did she.
She is so funny.

I want to live in Chicago too...and every time I go to a lake house....I want a cottage.