Home is a State of Mind
I used to think this was a simple question when someone asks, “Where are you from?” But for most of us it is not, especially if you work in some form of media or the military and move all over the country or world for your career. When I was born my family was living in Peoria, Illinois so I claimed that for my childhood. But then when I was five years old my Dad moved us to Missouri as he pursued is job with Firestone tires. So, the majority of my life I was raised in Southeast Missouri, except for a brief few months in Pinckneyville, IL, so I would tell people I was from Missouri. But since I was raised in Fruitland, which is a small town outside of a slightly larger town where I went to school Jackson, that is outside of a somewhat bigger town Cape Girardeau. It just became easier to say I was from a small town south of St. Louis because most people have heard of that! After graduating Jackson High School my parents and I were seeking a great music school, so I attend Belmont College (before it became a University) for a semester before I got the crap scared out of me by all of the talented musicians and moved back to Missouri to attend SEMO for a Mass Communication degree. I had a number of job offers around the country once I graduated and was in TV but the one that stuck was Las Vegas, Nevada. Not because of the city, but because of the career opportunity and my wife was willing to make the leap with me. We had a great ten-year run in Vegas, but everyone on the West Coast thought we were from the South because we had Midwest accents. At a point Les and I played it up by riding our Harley everywhere and showing up at parties in Bib Overalls. During this time, I was also a Regional and it gave me the opportunity to visit and help multiple markets over the years and learn from them also. These included: Kansas City, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Quincy, Madison, Cape Girardeau and Oklahoma City. I would go visit the market once a year usually and help where I could. The last hop we made was to Nashville, TN and we have been here for eight years now. A defining moment for me was when I took my family to the Opryland Hotel and we were boarding the boat in the delta section. The attendant asked each of us where we were from and when she got to me I said Nashville. In her best Southern accent, she stated “Oh honey you’re not from here.” Being a guy, and one in media, I have always considered home the place where I spent the most time and where some of my family still lives. I believe that each place we live leaves a mark on us and hopefully we leave a positive impact when we depart there as well. Southeast Missouri, Las Vegas and Nashville are all my homes because I have close friends that I stay in touch with in all of those locations. I also have favorite restaurants in each city and places and people I must visit upon arrival. My Real-Life Home is where my wife and daughter are and the myriad of pets that reside in that domicile at any given moment. I feel like a media gypsy and I’m okay with that. People get nostalgic about their previous homes, but I think that as much as the place they miss the moments and people that occupied those moments of time. Home is a state of mind more than a state in the union. We are all from many places and the combined experiences make us who we are today thanks to those cities and people we embraced while there. Where we are from isn’t as relevant as where we are going and what are we taking with us from our past journeys along the way. My path has made many forks that I could not have predicted when I graduated college, but I have enjoyed each one and I’m proud to call Nashville my home today.