Down Home

by Kelli Steele

We spent most of the weekend at a reunion in our hometown. While Jeff and I have only been married a couple years, we grew up just a hill and holler over from each other in the West Virginia coalfields. The thing about growing up in a coal camp is that where there used to be vibrant communities full of dozens and dozens of homes, those communities are often overgrown fields, the homes long-ago bulldozed, and it almost makes you wonder if it was a figment of your imagination. 

But gather dozens and dozens of those folks from back home in a room together, and you realize that communities are made of people, not clapboard and cinderblock. And that sense of belonging is just as present as it was dozens and dozens of years ago. People still care for one another, and genuinely enjoy the company. While parts of our communities have changed dramatically since we both left, you can still find the local bakery, the local drive-in, and a remnant of family and friends who have kept that same sense of place alive. They are the same folks who helped raise us, who love their neighbors as themselves, who bear one another's burdens. And that sounds like home to me. 

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