Vacation break! Carrie and I are in New Smyrna Beach for the Thanksgiving week. Most of my side of the family still lives here. Carrie used to live here as well, but her parents and brother moved out of the state several years ago. It’s been a while since we have visited our family here. We try to get together with them at least a few times a year and I try to get down here a few additional times for quick visits, but we just couldn’t pull it off this year.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with this town. We moved here when I was entering the 7th grade I left my second year of college. I never felt that I was quite accepted by my peers in school and I never built those lasting friendships that many of my classmates did. Those friendships that I did make were forged after high school. My family connections are strong here though. Most of my father’s side of the family grew up here and still live in the area. With a wide family tree and deep historical roots this is a place that I will be forever linked to.
When you have large gaps in time between visits you notice how the place changes more than you may otherwise. When you are driving in you can’t help but notice the differences. The way the road has changed. Or the new car dealership. Or the new shopping strip. How the small town is changing into something…else. When we were driving to my brother’s house for dinner we crossed an intersection that used to have a stop light. The rail road tracks were leveled out and a walking path had replaced it. All of these little changes start to transform the place into something that you don’t quite recognize anymore.
After dinner my brothers and sister-in-laws stood around the kitchen and caught up. Much has changed for all of us this past year. We talked about the kids. We talked about work. We talked about other people. We just talked about life. It was an easy conversation. Something we just fell into. It was like we saw each other yesterday and were picking up right were we left off. That kind of familiarity comes only with long time friends and family and it fills me with warmth. When everything around you is changing and the world is becoming different place, this is one thing I know will stay the same.