“ IS THERE STILL NO PLACE LIKE HOME?”
(Returning home for the holidays)
Rahndha Michelle Rainskin
THE LONG LONELY JOURNEY1 1
Memories while heading home 2 1
Things aren’t the same 2 2
THE LONG LONELY JOURNEY
Well, I have said all of my goodbyes to my lovely friends here in Buffalo, I have been here for nearly 30 years and it has not been an easy journey, finally finding a place to which I belong. My origin does not have such a blessed beginning, and my friends here have accepted me with all my different shades of grey with warts and all, now it’s time to return to my home place of birth to see family and friends I haven’t spoke with or seen in ages. I’m nervous about it all. Will I remember names with faces, old streets to turn onto, I’m all in my head about things to dread. What if I’ve gained more weight than average for my peer group? What if I am at the bottom of the economic pole? How’s socializing gonna go?
My sweet grandmothers and favorite cousin have moved on to the next life and my best friends have married and moved away, I’m so not sure why I am requested to join my mom’s side of the family for the holiday. The train stops and our conductor tells everyone to “relax get off we will be here for 30 minutes enjoy” people are restless. They start all at once herding towards the doors at each end of the cart. I’m seeing and hearing them moving, and pushing, and rushing, but me, no, I’m lost in thought, will home even feel the same, or will I get to Spenceborough and yearn in home sickness for a return to Buffalo where my happy new life is now. I worked very hard for this happiness I now have, and Spenceborough is where I was abused, abandoned, and orphaned to be a ward of the state and the object of many hateful jokes. I’m heading here for the good memories growing up at times within the households of both my grandmother’s and memories of food, warmth, family gatherings with plenty of love and laughter. I’m holding on to the jokes and stories, wisdom and heritage passed to me from those two matriarchs. All of the thoughts and fears are causing me anxiety and making this the longest loneliness journey home. I tell yah.
MEMORIES WHILE HEADING HOME
Now I need to remember my motivational words I’m so big on sharing with others. Ok Michelle “YOU are the master of the temple, and the captain of your own ship and seas, get it together girl don’t flake now! Focus only on the goodness and remember the warmth of home. This is the only energies you will take and project on this journey. Every frown, imagine as a smile that you see.” Self pep talking is one of my tools that help me rechannel my energies. It works.
I threw my head back and I could remember peeping out my room window at snow covered roads and fields filled with pine and cedar trees full of icecicles and red squirrels running across the cool white ice fluff blanket. My grandmother “BIG MAMA” in the kitchen the morning before Thanksgiving day and Christmas eve, humming and dancing and that kitchen a jumping and the aromas in the air so thick I can taste the food spices as seasonings in the air. Pumpkin spice, all spice, nutmeg, vanilla, paprika, rum, turkey, sweet potato pie, mac n cheese oohwee! Soft melodies are playing on the juke box, some holiday themed and some gospel generated all home, family, and Christian based. Oh the safety and security of home. In my vision, I open the front door to take a look at the snow coverage. In my floral print thick flannel pajamas and very thick fuzzy slippers I step out and walk a block down the road and children are passing by throwing snow balls. Folk are gathering buckets of snow for snow cream, a special treat given by the second real good snow. The roadways are still covered as it’s the holidays and even road workers need time home. I returned to the apartment just in time for BIG MAMA to yell at me “Michelle can you run to the store for more eggs, milk, butter, and brown sugar?” Just then I realized a familiar voice; it was the conductor making the last call to reboard the train. Whew, my imagination next stop, Spenceborough!
THINGS ARE NOT THE SAME
At last the announcement comes over the trains PA system “ we are now approaching Spenceborough if you have luggage in the storage beneath the train please exit train and step to the right thank you for riding trainways have a blessed day”! I step off to the right as instructed by the conductor. As I look around here and there now, and as we were approaching I am made aware of building structures that did not exist in my time here. I see the roadways have been widened and there is no hint that winter has even settled nor if fall is even trying to end. The trees are still full of leaves although colorfully changed the coldness of Jack frost in wake has had no effect.
I no longer have either grandmother to come home to but, since invited to visit by family members we agreed that I’d stay in a hotel and visit all I am able to visit in their homes; up until the main meal, in hopes to see everyone during the mass gathering.
One of my good friends stopped in my hotel room to grab me and take me around to see the old running and play grounds. Man, I tell you this place has changed so much, I’m sure glad I am being escorted this first day at least. Because before I get out of my friends car we will be picking myself out a rental car. I’m a free flowing person so I gotta have my own transportation these next thirty days or so. My friend is Meka, and Meka informed me of all the police brutality, citizen on citizen abuse and how drugs, guns, and alcohol have consumed nearly everyone around. The streets were eerily ghostly and dry, not a soul stirring, no children outside playing, no carolers to pass good cheer, she even said Halloween is worse, “you can’t give candy to children anymore, parents are too afraid the children would be poisoned”. I dropped my head. The children; oh my goodness, what about the children? Will they not have the memories that I was so graciously afforded? Even in the midst of my traumas I had good days and nights to draw on for my strengths for day to day. My belly begin to turn as Meka turned down the driveway toward the place where the family would be gathering for our mass holiday meal. Meka is family she’s been with me since age eleven and we are nearly fifty now, she was not born blood, yet, somehow we have still merged our DNA throughout life she knows my energy so very well, she reached her hand cross my lap to grab my hand very gently placed my hand on my knee and reassuringly patted the back of my hand and smiled a smile so warm I felt deep inside all would be well . I have Been her physical body guard and she has been my mental and spiritual peace during the trials of life.
As we near the old family fortress my thoughts begin to race. The last time I had talked to my Aunts and relatives I was cutting them out of my life, them and anyone who reminded me of my past life and energies, those memories I once carried around like a badge of honor I no longer relate to nor the folk who helped to create them. I’m much stronger and wiser, and at a financial place in life that if they act crazy I will turn right back out this door, call an uber and go to uptown Charlotte and party like a rock star.
To my surprise things were warm, welcoming, and inviting. My eldest living relative was present and in the kitchen humming and sing and the kitchen was jumping as in the days of BIG MAMA wow! My heart smiled and my knees were weakened from the overwhelming presence of joy, harmony, and peace. Forcefully I tried to hold my tear ducts prisoner to my pride and fear of being prematurely too accepting. Is this real? People are hugging me kissing my face and smiling at me and the light in there eyes seemed genuine. The tear ducts dam gave way to a joyfully river of bliss and faith in family.
Wow, I can’t believe it, life and her many facets. The changes I dreaded were in vain, the fear, for what? It was beautiful, home sickness never happened and I now have new fresh memories to build on. I also have some good old southern sweet potato pie to share back at my new home in Buffalo. That is my friends, my new place of living and socializing. Yes, this is my hometown of birth and I will enjoy every visit from here on out. But, my own bed is calling me and my bathtub and breakfast nook where I just sit and look, can be my space of heaven especially accompanied by a book.
“ All aboard, we are Buffalo bound” as I look around at this town I use to know a grin and smile form inside as I journey back to my corner in time in space, “Is there still no place like home?” and my answer to you will always be; NO PLACE!
RAHNDAH MICHELLE RAINSKIN
“IS THERE TRULY STILL NO PLACE LIKE HOME
NOVEMBER 09 2018