Webster Defines Home As ...

Beatrice, a small town on the Great Plains, hugs the banks of the Blue River. In the 1850s, the vast prairie, generous with wildlife, was tamed by homesteaders. Today, streets lined with towering elms and spreading cottonwoods shade clapboard houses built in the 1900s. Main Street is lined with Gingerbread buildings bustling with commerce. Goldenrods and coneflowers brightened the landscape; Meadowlarks and robins sing. People wave; strangers say "hello." This was my home until professional life took me to a prairie of parking lots, high-rise buildings devoid of character, and wildlife confined to zoos. Life was prosperous and hectic, but not home.

While exploring the area of my latest cross-country move, I left the four-lane super highway, which was going nowhere fast, and crossed a low bridge spanning a gully of trees. At the base of the green forest, the Bogue Falaya, words I could not pronounce, meandered through the shade. Ahead, quaint houses were nestled among towering magnolia and pine trees. Gardenias perfumed the air; Crepe Myrtles and Oleanders added splashes of color. Mockingbirds sang in chorus, and bluebirds flitted through the undergrowth. Main Street was a riot of architecturally interesting buildings; cafes, art galleries, and shops filled with the necessities of life as well as the frivolous.

Despite being surrounded by sprawling malls and super highways, Covington retains its small town charm, a trait that requires diligence and dedicated citizens. My short diversion transported me not only to Covington, but to a place from my past: home.