Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I talk a lot about what I consider to be home. I suppose that definition is different for everyone. I remember going to college and making friends, most of which never really bothered to go back to their hometowns to visit friends & family very often. They got out, and for the most part, they stayed out. Home may bring up scars, pain, memories to be forgotten. They seek to find their own place. Many have, and many are making memories in that place they now call home. It's not the same for everyone. I consider myself fortunate, to be sure.

I get ribbed at work for how often I go back home. It's not even 2 hours away, and recently I needed to be there often to help with my parents' move. But it doesn't take much for me to find an excuse to come home, even when nothing is going on. I've thought a lot about why it still means so much to me. Part of it comes from my family, and the deep sense of community and love there was in how the town treated my Uncle Burt all of his life. I grew up watching those interactions between normal townspeople and a man with a handicap and an immeasurably large heart. Nothing could've resonated stronger with a little kid, learning life lessons, one post office trip at a time shadowing my uncle. Maybe it's an overwhelming sense of gratitude I have to the town for all of those moments of kindness and love shown to him while he was alive. A life that could've been so hopeless and lost, instead was one of the most meaningful and special, to the hundreds who were willing and eager to let him into theirs.

Another important reason that home is still home stems from the loss of two close friends when I was 16, and the healing that only came with time spent with other close friends who were feeling the same gaping sense of loss that I was. I never missed a chance to get together back home with the boys when I knew there was going to be a group back in town. There was no better time spent in my life than those times among friends, living moments we knew wouldn't be possible for two lives cut entirely too short.

I know I'm not alone. People transplanted much farther away than me still feel a connection they can never shake to the same home I have. Like many, you have to be away from it for a while to appreciate it. Zack is one of those people. We express our love, gratitude, and admiration of home in different ways. SOmw write about it, some make music inspiried by it. In Zack's case, he expresses it on a canvas. Now he shares his admiration of home with anyone who can appreciate the subtlties that can only be pulled out of regular, everyday scenes with an artist's eye. I'm fortunate enough to have 3 of his prints, each of which is a scene I consider to be part of my home. So many of his paintings resonate deeply with many from there. Consider me one of them.

I've attached a few pieces of his work. Below is an interview done a while back from an Omaha news station. It's good to know that I'm not alone, I guess.


Jessica said...

I've also thought a lot about the concept of "home" and how different it is for everyone. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

And Zack has some beautiful work! Thanks for sharing

Cindy said...

Thanks for this, JB. Burt was very special to me, I have often used him as an example of small town life when co-workers make fun of me for living there. It is a 40 min. commute to Omaha each day, they make fun of me because there is nothing ther. But nothing compares to the small town atmosphere when you are home in the evening.