“Two eggs over medium, potatoes, white toast, a slice of ham, and a black coffee.”
That was always my order every time I sat down at the local diner in my hometown of Monroeville, Indiana. The Blueberry Pancake House—which my friends and I commonly call the ‘Cake House—was characterized by these same kinds of consistencies growing up.
Every time you walk in, you can bet your britches that someone will give you a wave and a grin from one of the booths on the east wall; it’s likely you’ll get a handshake from one of the men from church, and they’ll ask if you’ll pick up their check with a wink and a smile. You never had to feel too bad about hanging around after grabbing a bite to eat. It’s no surprise to see someone who had come for breakfast at eight o’clock that morning hang around long enough they decide to put their order in for lunch too.
I will let you in on a little secret. For some reason, when I left to move to the FFA Center, I told myself I would not and could not be homesick. I believed that to fully appreciate the adventure I was about to go on, I would have to momentarily move on from my hometown. I believed that there was no way I could possibly get homesick. I stopped checking in on my town paper, I skipped the “Monroeville Bulletin” on Facebook, and I scarcely texted my mom. I thought I had my life figured out beyond my hometown.
This past week we were on chapter visits all over the state. While we were in District XII, I had the chance to grab some breakfast at a local diner with my two partners for Chapter visits. When we walked in, a few of the gentlemen waved at us, and we could tell that they were not used to seeing three high school-aged students arriving fully clad in Official Dress. When the waitress asked for our orders, I instantly blabbed out my usual: “Two eggs over medium, potatoes, white toast, a slice of ham, and a black coffee.” Once I said my order, I felt a slight twist in my stomach. I saw all the older men catching up and cracking jokes, but I knew that I could not join in. It was bittersweet. It had been just over a month since I’d been back home, and it felt so weird to see small town interactions without actually being able to join in.
It made me miss home, and I had begun to catch a pretty rough case of the homesick blues. I began to peek back at the town paper, and I texted my mom a lot during our visits. I tried to do anything to resolve that twist in my stomach.
This past weekend we had our weekend home. Seeing all of the small towns that we had been going through last week, that feeling was compounded tenfold. However, on Sunday morning we had the chance to return to the one and only ‘Cake House. Of course, we were greeted by the usual wave, and the jokes from the older gentlemen in the restaurant. Almost instantly that twist in my stomach from being homesick was alleviated. I was glad to be home.
In life we have all types of opportunities to embark on an adventure. Some may be close to home; some may not be. And often times we may find ourselves excluding ourselves from our home communities when we go on these adventures. However, we have to realize that its alright to feel a little homesick. We need to make sure we keep in touch with where we are from, instead of ignoring it. So, go ahead and enjoy the other side of the fence, but never forget to read your town paper, scroll through the town Facebook page, and always make sure to call your mom.