Today's Paper Newsletters LEARNS Guide Fish Story Contest 🎣 Asa Hutchinson 2024 Today's Photos Public Notices Digital FAQ Razorback Sports Puzzles Crime Distribution Locations Obits

OPINION | GARY SMITH: A house is a house, but its role as “home” makes moving a challenge

A new milestone in life stirs nostalgia by Gary Smith | May 19, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.

Very soon I'm going to do something so terrifying and life-altering it potentially may alter and/or scar me forever.

I'm going to move.

That's "move" as in "from one house to another." Not "move" as in "get off the sofa and wander into the kitchen." Though that can be fairly altering and/or scarring, as well. I mean, the trauma of discovering we're out of Fritos ... I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Or at least anyone with some dip left.

But I digress. And I'm suddenly kind of hungry.

It seems the Lovely Mrs. Smith and I have found ourselves in a situation where we can leave our current home and move slightly farther south to a place that better suits us, our knees and our ever-growing family. In other words, it doesn't have stairs but it does have room to spread out every toy and activity my wife has so painstakingly procured for our basketball team's worth (plus) of grandchildren, leaving enough space that we're not tripping over it all. The grandkids or the stuff.

We've been talking about this for a bit, but talking about it and actually loading all your stuff on trucks and driving off are two different things. And one of those things will likely be performed by someone else's team, because I'm big on many things, but actual physical effort isn't one of them. Makes me break out in sweat.

At least I own my issues and am living my truth. Which are really nice ways to say I'm sort of lazy. And it goes a long way toward explaining why the Lovely Mrs. Smith and I have discussed moving several times, but just haven't.

Important to note here that while I'm approaching this as if it were Columbus setting sail for the New World (sans the attempts to enslave the indigenous population and hitting the Bahamas when you were aiming for China), we're really not going that far. Just two more exits down the interstate, so I likely won't even change my go-to carry-out pizza place.

But it's one of those ideas that is perhaps more comfortable in the abstract than in the actual. And the closer it gets, the more my general unease grows.

For one thing, there are the general and very first-world problems of having to learn a new address, complete with a new ZIP code. I mean, I've been using the same five digits since the early 2000s, so they're pretty ingrained.

And even if they weren't, I'm not big on remembering things. For instance, on those rare occasions when I have to write a check, I tend to get hung up on the year. Or the decade. So mental muscle memory is obviously not a strength.

Then there is the realization that, as I get older, I start to experience a greater sense of nostalgia. I know, odd, considering the fact that I'm an Air Force brat, which meant moving every three years was a part of life and we were cautioned to not be in any housing situation we couldn't walk away from in a week.

It's just that, well, we've lived here for a while. There's a mural I painted (badly) in the foyer and handprints of all our kids in the cement at the corner of the driveway. Three of the four progeny graduated from high school while living here, so there are photos of proms and first days of school and caps and gowns and other big events all taken on the same front porch. A front porch that will likely, the local real estate market willing, soon belong to someone else and be the setting for their "big-event" photos.

And since we're officially empty-nesters, the new porch in the new place with the new ZIP code won't be the setting for any of those pictures.

Still, it's time. All the signs say so.

It is unrealistic and not accurate to believe that things, even houses, are infused with the memories made there. Our house is a structure, a collection of building materials put together years ago. It's done its job, kept us warm and dry, safe from the elements, and provided a stage upon which the events of our lives together have played out.

Now it's time for other players to take the stage while we go on to our next venue. That's the way things work. I know that. I've lived it.

Still doesn't make it any easier. Even though it should.

Print Headline: A moving experience


Sponsor Content