Dr. Don Newbury

It is the place that warms heart cockles at its mention, inspires poets, artists and lyricists, strikes patriotic heart strings and is at the absolute core of who we are. It is the destination toward which country roads take us. It is a place where when we go there, they have to let us in, claimed Robert Frost.

“Home” is a four-letter word that needs no apology. For the overwhelming majority of us, there’s no place like it, be it humble or not.

Stock in many earthly treasures rise and fall. Not so the home, without which Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kincaid and even Hallmark Cards might never have become household names.

It’s a hallowed place, ordained of God, and the object of prayer and perseverance by His children of all generations…

The home has been described as the cradle in which the future is born. We foolish mortals often have priorities upside down. Home is the place we usually grow up wishing to leave. Later, we work hard at finding ways to get back.

In a broader sense, “home” is a handy label for our communities, cities, states and regions.

Futurists, intent on homesteading other planets, dream of references to “Planet Earth” as home, wondering if they can swing space travel ticket costs for periodic family reunions…

With major holidays fast approaching, thoughts turn to sights, sounds, tastes and smells associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. For most of us, families gather, even if for just a few hours, at home.

For the rest of the year, the two words “home of” typically are claimed by entities to brag about, or perhaps legitimize, exploits or aspects of communities that might otherwise fade at county lines.

Maybe such chest-beating started, or at least accelerated, when community water towers first popped up. Sure as shootin’, under the names of towns on the towers, “home of” follows. And under that, names of something—or someone—connected with that particular community…

In most communities, chambers of commerce have made sure “the beat goes on.”

One reason that about every community can swell with pride is that whatever is claimed rarely is challenged.

For example, during my growing up years in Brown County, a factory in the county seat town made feather dusters. As far as I know, Brownwood’s claim to being “the feather duster capital of the world” was unchallenged. It was around for 40 years or so, perhaps until everything got dusted, or maybe they ran short on feathers. No doubt whichever company was in the runner-up position in duster manufacturing all those years proudly trumpeted its new #1 status for years to come…

In Burleson, where we live now, much is made of TV’s first “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson, who is from our town. (We moved here about that time, and she’s the reason I thought it clever to call my column The Idle American. So far, no one has mentioned what I thought to be an obvious play on words.)

Others around here brag about Burleson being the crape myrtle capital, never mind that Waxahachie and Paris claim the same distinction. West, near Waco, is heralded as the “kolache capital of Texas,” Crystal City crows about being No. 1 in growing spinach and Floydada lays claim to producing the most pumpkins.

Look at the water towers and signs the next time you travel. In Stanton, a sign claims “3,000 friendly people and a few old soreheads.” In Hondo, they urge drivers to slow down with: “This is God’s country. Don’t drive through it like h-ll.”…

Creative minds in Roscoe (near Sweetwater, the “rattlesnake capital of the world”) no doubt are working overtime to signal the small rural community’s new designation - “home of world’s largest wind farm.”

Surrounding Roscoe are 617 wind turbines. They dot almost 100,000 acres, an area several times bigger than Manhattan. One community leader, giddy about a major infusion of tax dollars, claimed that they’d gone, almost over night, “from dirt stinkin’ poor to just dirt poor.”

Meanwhile, over the years, McGregor folks have held tight to thoughts of home while waxing poetic: “Highways are hazardous, holy cow; if you lived in McGregor, you’d be home now.”…

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to newbury@speakerdoc.com or call 817-447-3872. Visit his Web site at www.speakerdoc.com.