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.