Fifteen years ago today, I moved into room 302B of the Central Campus Residence Hall at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. I did not know that I would put roots down in the Rocket City. If I had not co-oped, I would have graduated in 3 1/2 years and would likely have swooshed my way out of town to the highest bidder. I wanted to go to school here, but I didn’t plan on staying. Instead, I invested myself in the city, the Tennessee Valley, and Alabama.
I moved home for 10 weeks during the summer after my first year at UAH; I drove back three times for SGA business. Until my dad had his heart attack in April, I hadn’t been gone from Huntsville since then for longer than 10 days at any stretch; when I was gone for three weeks, I was losing my marbles. Huntsville is my home. I really don’t want to live anywhere else, and looking for jobs outside the area is hard1 for me to do.
Huntsville means a lot of things to me: my alma mater, our hockey program, the 11 years of my career to-date, buying my first home, my churches, my coffee shop, my life. My friends are here. My best friend is here2. My family aren’t here, but not for lack of trying, and I have friends that are as close as family.
As I write this, I’m in Nashville and not at home, and I won’t be home until Saturday. I’m reminded of my friend Andy Osenga’s song with The Normals:
And if you have a place where you belong
You’re a lucky one, for time was meant to waste
A laugh with good old friends or walking hand in hand
I can’t believe I’ll be there and this time I can stay
But I’ll be home soon
I’ll be home soon
A great song written by a band of guys that missed home when they wrote a great record really fits what I feel.
See you soon, Huntsville. Leave the Saturn V lights on for me.