My turn: There’s no place like home

Right after college I was living in the Caribbean. They don't say "y'all" in the Virgin Islands. One summer, back here on vacation, I remember getting a lump in my throat just hearing a young girl at a fast food place asking "What can I get y'all?" Music to my ears!

That same week we went to one of those traveling musical variety shows at Marshall Junior High. It was a red, white and blue extravaganza. Great country music, fun singing and dancing. And then a man sang this song. And spontaneously, the audience began to stand. And those cowboy hats that had been held in the laps of their owners were placed over their hearts. And the packed house stood there while those grand lyrics were sung…

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee, across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea…

If I went to that same concert today, I'd still cry when those hats went over the hearts as the people stood in respect. I'm tearing up just remembering it. But that evening was magical for this homesick girl who was back home on the plains, surrounded by people with that twang in their speech, and those blue jeans and those hats, and that song. … I'll never forget it.

Sandy keeps an online journal at her website E-mail her at

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