By Teddy Allen

Think about it for a second: language is filled with some magnificent two-word phrases.

School’s out.
Let’s eat!
Free golf.
Fried chicken.
Hear a certain one of those and we all light up like July Fourth (another feel-good two-word phrase, and one unique to America).
But it’s the opinion in this bureau that there’s a single word that beats them all.
Gots to be my favorite of all the words. Sort of the Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Tom Brady and Hank Aaron of confabulations, (a funny word for words).
With “home” being a theme of this July issue, it’s a fair excuse to reflect on just what that is to each of us. How home shaped us. Some of us couldn’t wait to get away from home, some of us were scared when we did, and some of us have gone back and found it could never be the same. Nobody’s fault: it’s just the mysterious way time works.
Home is a multi-leveled dynamic all its own.
How many songs and books and poems have been written about home?
“I’ll be home for Christmas.”
“Don’t it make you want to go home…”
“Bring it on home to me …”
“Homeward bound …”
And a hat tip to country folk like Loretta Lynn (“Don’t come home a-drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind …”), Porter Wagoner (Green, Green Grass of Home), Dolly (My Tennessee Mountain Home”), and Bobby Bare, who lamented from Detroit City, “I wanna go home.”

Some of us see the grass greener in our neighbor’s yard, while never thinking that we have the option to paint our own grass. America, celebrating another birthday on this Fourth of July, takes a lot of hits, and goodness knows we’ve brought a lot of it upon ourselves. But I love it, warts and all. And wouldn’t you rather start cleaning up here, painting the grass here, instead of anyplace else on earth? We’ve got a pretty good head start, what with the fruited plain and spacious skies from sea to shining sea — if only common sense and elbow grease would come back into style.
Home is what we make it.
I’m thinking of how many people must have this cross stitched and framed on a kitchen wall: “Home Sweet Home.”
But … not everyone grew up safe with a tire swing and a dog and a bike. They had to leave home to find home. Any of us can buy a house and a lot of stuff to put in it. But only things that are free can make it a home.
What about your home away from home? For some, it’s holding a needle and thread or holding a baby or holding the attention of a class filled with students. For others, home is on a tractor or on a stage or in a cockpit or in a press box. It’s the realization of being grown but still feeling as secure as you did in the womb, a conscious knowing that where you are is why you were born.
If you’re really lucky, you know home when you find it, when you feel it. Dorothy went all the way to Oz before she realized her heart’s desire was in her own back yard. George Bailey had to “die” and lose home before finding out his drafty house when filled with friends made him the richest man in town.

Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning