An Ounce of Home – You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

This reminds me of when I emigrated to Israel at the end of 1978. I brought as close as I could to an entire world in three trunks. Real trunks. You know, the big hard-sided ones that were, at one time, standard luggage for trains and aboard ship.

I quickly discovered you can’t bring home with you, even if you bring a lot of stuff from it. Because home isn’t your stuff. It isn’t your house. Not even your loved ones. It’s all of that and something more, something indefinable that makes you know you are in that safe harbor called “Home.”

Irish Signs

These days, since I won’t go anywhere without at least one laptop and all my cameras, there’s not much need for a specific memento. I have thousands of photographs of home, friends, the region in all seasons on every computer and I could just as easily access this blog and find anything else I might miss. Short of actually being home, with WiFi and computers … we are never far from home. Any of us.

Grand Canyon

It is probably the single most significant social change technology has wrought over the past 20 years. I don’t always like it. I don’t always want to be connected or safe. A little whiff of potential danger is like spice in your food. It’s a big part of the fun of traveling. Getting away from everything and anyone. Being on your own. Taking a break from friends and family used to give me a chance to miss them and therefore, appreciate them.

But we are so connected these days. No matter where we go, we are never completely “away.” In fact, we are no farther than the nearest cell phone tower or WiFi connection. How can you miss someone who texts or calls you 25 times a day? Why would you miss a home you have photographed top to bottom and carry with you everywhere?

It takes much of the adventure out of travel, don’t you think?


I needed a white plastic cover for a two-plug electric outlet. A simple thing. Costs less than a dollar anywhere they are sold. But the hardware store in Northbridge closed while I was out of commission and it isn’t the sort of thing they sell at the grocery store. I wasn’t eager to tackle Walmart.

I decided not to think about it and instead go to the fish store in Rhode Island. We used to go there all the time, but life got complicated, difficult. We stopped going most places. A few weeks ago, Garry decided to see if they were still in business. It had been that long.


Turns out it is indeed still open — since 1964. On the way, I saw the feed & grain cum nursery cum hardware place. I had forgotten it was there — made a mental note to stop on the way back to buy the outlet cover.

We bought a lot of stuff at the fish store. A little more expensive than the grocery, but a better selection. And the owner actually knows something about fish.

Then we hit the feed & grain hardware and nursery. Got the plastic cover for the outlet. It cost 41 cents. Garry had a dollar in his pocket and got change. Deal done. This must be the only thing you can still buy for less than half a dollar.

I had a camera and the nursery beckoned. Garry loved the cactus. They look just like the ones in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance because it is the same cactus. I thought it would be a great addition to our little in-house plant collection. A handsome cactus indeed.

While I was checking to see how much they wanted for it, I got a handful of tiny, soft, painful thorns. I’m still pulling them out of my hand and I barely grazed it.

“You can have the cactus,” I said to Garry. “But you’ll have to care for it. It obviously doesn’t like me.” We took a temporary pass on it, but maybe we’ll go back. It’s a beauty.


This is my summer view. I watch the seasons through my back door. I see the buds opening in spring, the snow pile up in winter, leaves drift to the deck in fall. In summer, I love seeing my flowers and the deep green of the woods.


It gives new meaning to the words “picture window.”

Nice to have a beautiful place to set my eyes as I get a cup of coffee and give the dogs their morning share of biscuits.

And now, a word from Credence Clearwater Revival.