My Ohio Home
We Can Always Go Home
By Julia A. Keirns
‘Ohio Welcomes You’ read the sign. I-75 North, cruise set at 65, I was only 4 hours from home. It had been years since I’d been back, but I remembered it well…
Driving down the narrow, paved country road, there would be a wide ditch following alongside on my left. The soft, brown, fuzzy cat-tails would stand tall among the un-mowed grass. Just beyond would be fields of corn and beans and golden yellow wheat stalks, one right after another.
If I rolled my window down, I would smell fresh cut straw lying in the fields waiting to be bailed. My nose would immediately stuff up, my eyes would begin to water, and I would probably sneeze, a lot.
As I would turn into the stone driveway and cross the wooden bridge that covered the ditch, I would take a big whiff and wish I could still smell the sweet, dark purple lilac bushes Mom had planted along the ditch-bank by the driveway. But, since it was mid-summer, the lilacs would be done. Behind the lilac bushes would be the nine towering maple trees, in their rows of three, shading the yard in front of the house.
To my left, I would see the orchard. Out front, by the ditch, would be the black and red mulberry trees I loved to climb as a child. Purple stained feet my most vivid memory. Other fruit trees, also lined in rows of three, would be apple, cherry and peach. Topping off the orchard, up by the garage, would be the concord grapevines, filled with large bunches of dark, delicious, purple grapes. I could almost taste the sweet homemade grape juice poured out of a home canning jar.
Straight ahead of me, as I would pull the car in the driveway and stop, would be the old, one-car garage sided with green shingles and roofed with silver tin. A white garage door, paint cracked and peeling, with a rusty silver handle on it near the bottom would be staring me in the face.
From the side door on the garage, a broken cement walk would lead to the back door of the house I called home. I would stand there at this familiar, two-story white farm house with its black shutters outlining the big picture windows, and our Collie, Shep, would come running as fast as she could in her old age, and bark to say hello. The robins flying overhead would chirp and sing before landing on the birdhouse that sat high on a pole out in the backyard. I might even feel a soft, furry kitten rub against my ankles, and the vibrating purr would tickle my skin.
After so many years, I’m sure it had probably changed some, but this was how I would always remember my Ohio home.