20 years ago, the most beautiful set of blue eyes I have ever seen said to me, “I do”. Since then, wherever we have been, as long as I’ve been able to look into those eyes, I have been home. We have added three more sets of those eyes over the years, and anywhere I’ve had the chance to see them- on a horse, on the ice, or fishing next to me- I have been at home.
Still, tonight I am grateful for others. For people and place that I still in some small way call “home”.
30 years ago, we walked across the stage and supposedly said goodbye to a place we couldn’t wait to escape from.
But there is something here that I am drawn back to, people and place that, though the names sometimes leave me, the faces call me back to a time when I knew “everything.”
Tonight, I am grateful for these people, people who knew me at my worst, and yet still saw more in me than I saw in myself. People who saw my arrogance for what it was, thinly veiled immaturity. People who are kind enough to say I don’t look any different than I did 30 years ago.
And tonight, I am grateful for more than the people. I am grateful for the place. The place that in its own constrictive way allowed, even encouraged me to be myself. “Yes, Sir. I do have an earring. No, Sir. Wake Forest is not an all girls school.” I am grateful for the place that taught me a hatred for all things Blue Devil. I am grateful for the place that holds grudges and forgives sins. I am grateful for Harris Teeter, Bowman Drug, and Papa’s Pizza. For the place that allows me to fully exhale.
I am grateful for Bob Seger, Boston, and Journey, bands that made me yawn in the 80’s, but now remind me of Mustangs, Jeeps, and Chevy Novas.
I am grateful.
I am grateful for home.