When I went home to Washington to visit my family last week, I was excited to stay in Seattle - the city I called home for close to ten years - but I was even more excited to relax in my hometown.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Yes, my hometown is actually a town called... Tokeland. It's a tiny little peninsula on the coast of Washington and was my home for 18 years. As much as I longed for more than Tokeland could offer when I was growing up, I now sometimes ache for the quiet of my mother's house on the bay.
When I'm home, I just breathe differently. There's not really any reliable cell reception and you can truly just take a break from the rest of the world. At my mom's house, there is never a shortage of sitting on the deck, glasses of wine or laughs. (... Or naps, for that matter, but I think that's just me and my 21 month old nephew... What can we say? We get tired.)
On this trip, my mom treated both my sister and me to dinner at one of my favorite places, The Tokeland Hotel. It is the oldest resort hotel in Washington and is the home of my very first job. (My mom also worked there when she was young.)
The hotel is said to be haunted and I love to wander upstairs after ordering my dinner. This hotel is so charming and quaint, but don't let it fool you. It can still scare the bejeezus outta me just as much as when I was a teenage dishwasher working there late at night.
This hotel is so special to all of us. When we walk through the doors, we're treated like family. That's just one of the things that is so nice about a small town.
My dad even built the gazebo in the backyard. (Honestly, not the one that is standing currently, but the previous one.) So, I like to go out there, spend a little time and feel closer to him. When I was a thirteen year old dishwasher/hostess/busser/occasional waitress, he would come in for lunch. I love that memory.
I think John (Cougar, thank you very much) Mellencamp said it best in one of my favorite songs, Small Town:
No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
I can't wait for my next visit. They say you can never go home again, but they're wrong. And if you're very lucky, you can take a part of that home with you in the big world, always.