Home Sweet Hometown

I moved from my hometown about 27 years ago, but I still get a charge out of going back.

Advance, Mo. (population 1,347) is not the place it once was.

Most of the businesses that prospered when I was growing up are either empty or razed. My high school has been torn down for years.

Morgan’s Furniture Store. Hinkle’s Cut-Rate. Ward’s Grocery.

Gone. Gone. Gone.

But many of the people from my childhood — both family and friends — remain. They are whom I surround myself with when I make that six-hour trek east.

So it was last weekend.

I awoke every morning to the cooing of mourning doves. My mother and I took long walks. We stopped to smell the roses on Sturdivant and Poplar streets.

A former neighbor flagged us down to chat in the middle of the street, a conversation that could have held up traffic, had there been any.

In the evenings, former classmates and I toasted friendships and swapped stories, laughing in backyard swings until the sun went down.

On getaway day, my mother mashed 10 pounds of potatoes for a holiday feast. Aunt Wanda made delectable sweet corn, this nephew’s favorite. I had the honor of carving the Easter ham.

The good-byes came too quickly. They always do.


17 thoughts on “Home Sweet Hometown

  1. I find it so amazing that what you describe as your memories of hometown (and the familiar that so many strive to flee) sounds exactly like the ideal vacation for me. Forget the fancy destinations, I want to go home to this.

  2. We spent Easter with Dad and Nana Joy.
    Sunrise service overlooking Lake Okeechobee. Ham and fixings by Nana. AA frolicking in the pool. Enjoyable conversations with Dad.
    Not home but oh so nice. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

    • I’m so sad that I missed Uncle Bill and Joy. Sounds as if your visit was great. Mine was, too. Caught up with Billy and heard stories I never had. Take care.

  3. Rhett, as always your gift of words takes me back to a simplier time in our home town! Bill Allison’s pool hall, the car wash, the circle we drove through town on those hot summer nights! What a childhood we had in Advance MO.

  4. Nice chatting with you in front of the hardware store…great article too! Glad you enjoyed your trip back to “Mayberry!” ..Like Dorothy said, “no place like home!”

  5. Sorry I missed you . Heard you were in town, I will try to see you next time. Try to come back during the Christmas tournament , you will enjoy watching Lane play

  6. Ah! The Advance Hornets! I Still Miss My Hometown And GO When I Can, However My Drive Is 10 Hours 1 way. The way you talk about it makes me miss it even more.

  7. I know that feeling. I left Advance in 1979. I still have family and friends there. I have so many memories of my childhood there along the sadness of my old high school being gone. Just don’t know if kids nowadays could handle the “no air conditioning ” and those concrete steps th 2nd floor. I’ll always be. Hornet

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