I just finished writing a new book entitled Bungalow with my good friend and local actor, Rodney Pickel. It is about a place called home. To some, home is an apartment and to others, it is a mansion in Fairvue. Frankly I have lived in all sorts of dwellings and once as a vagabond in my late teens searching for the perfect rock concert, my home was a sleeping bag with the stars as my ceiling. I have come to discover that home is really as much a place in your head as a physical address. But for the time being, Hendersonville is just fine with me. Yes, home is about being comfortable in your abode no matter where it is. But most of all it is about being comfortable in your own skin. It can be about having a nickname. Mine is Hickey. Rodney’s is Clyde. I like my moniker because it conjures up images of a kid riding his bike with high handle bars and a banana seat with wild abandon. In that place, one finds Truth. There you can be perfectly honest with God and yourself. That is why we call heaven our home. Parkhurst wrote “Home is heaven for beginners.” I couldn’t agree more. In my book, I write of the great philosophers that have shaped my life. There is Aristotle and Locke, of course, but there is also the toothless sage who sat on a bench and whittled at the little store up the road from my house. When I sat next to him at the tender age of six and cut my finger with my first knife, he simply said, “Betcha won’t do that again, Hickey.” He was right. I didn’t. That was as profound as anything Ben Franklin advised. And this philosopher with tobacco juice dripping from his chin knew my name. I felt right at home sitting next to my pal and whittling with my Barlow knife after that. I was Hickey, the southpaw on the Little League team, who’s Daddy was a barber. I had a sense of identity. Home is when you come to realize that all you have is all you need. The cells in our bodies are replaced over a time period of roughly seven years and most of the dead ones end up around your home which is why my wife is constantly asking me to literally pick up after myself. In our respective bungalows, big or small, we are always coming and going. “Dust to dust, my grandpa said. It’s our fate. But guys, in the here and now, it is in your best interest to keep up with the “Honey Do List” for “a man’s home is indeed his wife’s castle.” You feel more at home with your life when you keep a journal, digital or handwritten, and I have all my old journals which have a great deal of detail about who I was, who I am, and who I aspire to be. And that is why I keep one. I am a bit like a tape in an adding machine, a running total of what it is that is me, but I am more, as has been written, than the sum of my “parts”. There is an essence. I want to be a soul man because soul is what keeps those impressions alive no matter how much time separates us from the events that created them. It is like building that house you always wanted on the lake, the perfect home. The materials and lot are important but there is something else. For a house ain’t a home until it gets some soul. As Helen Rowlan writes, “Home is any four walls that enclose the right person.” As I turn the lights off in my bungalow and as you shuffle out the door to your own, my prayer is that every person on the planet now and forever has a place they can call their own and that they feel safe and comfortable there. That’s just not too much to ask I think of a country like America. It is a crucial step toward world peace no matter what party you belong to and no matter where on God’s Green Earth you live. I write in the book of my friend Clyde leaving my home one evening and the fireflies blinked around his head like a halo as he strolled down the sidewalk of the bungalow and I somehow knew things were gonna be alright. It’s hard to tell the difference between friends and angels sometimes. No matter where I am that thought will always make me homesick for like most folks in Hendersonville, I love to entertain a good angel. Tom Hicks, local author and actor.
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