By: Paula Walter
When my husband and I moved to Johnson County 10 years ago, we didn’t know a soul except our family that moved with us, that included our youngest son and Phil’s mother. It’s hard to believe that we have been here 10 years already. I really don’t know how the time has passed by so quickly, but it has. It’s like you turn around, and the time has passed in a blink of an eye.
We have a lot of history in Johnson County now. Everywhere we turn, there are memories. We go places and say “Remember when we took your Mom out on the lake”? Or “Remember all those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we made for the bike ride? “That’s where we took Brian and Olivia when they came to stay with us after the fire to get some clothes,” and “There’s the restaurant where we ran into Kathleen,” or we find folding chairs up on the hill where our sons sat around the fire pit the last time they were here. The list goes on and on.
Our last 10 years are full of memories of the place we call home. We have flowers planted that came from cuttings from friends. Every year when our peonies start to bloom, I remember our youngest son commenting the little popsicle sticks I used to mark the different colors of the plants looked like a hamster cemetery. I look at the corn hole boards in our garage and remember when our entire family gathered together at our home for Thanksgiving, including our family from Kansas. We look through Facebook and finds pictures we have posted over the years, memories we have shared with our family in these mountains that never fail to touch our hearts.
Johnson County has truly become home. I lived in one county all my life until our move here, and I was so homesick at first. I missed our two sons (although they were adults) and I missed my family and friends. But now, my heart is here.
Our youngest son is expecting his first baby in early January. While my heart jumps for joy, we are torn. We are torn when our adult children tell us they want us to move back closer to them. We can’t be in both places at the same time, but that definitely would be a good solution were it possible. This grandmother in waiting can hardly wait to hold that little girl. Leaving to head back down 81 won’t be easy. Our sons want us up there with them, and it hurts my heart to tell them Mom and Dad just aren’t ready to make that move back up 81 and we don’t even have a clue when it will be, or if we will.
My husband and I have had multiple discussions, do we stay or do we go once I retire. I don’t think it is going to happen for a long time. We aren’t ready to give up our home here in the mountains, to give up the view off the front porch that calms my soul or that peace we have as soon as we walk into the house.
There are places that seem to call you, where you feel like you have been a million times, that connection where you know, without a doubt, you are home. We are truly home.