A home is a place where dreams come true. Homes are places where plans are made on papers that have coffee rings on them. Homes always have well-thumbed maps that are kept near by.
Homes have marks on the walls where children grew, even if the people in the home don’t have children. Homes have pantries that store shoe boxes with trinkets and old treasures. They also have catch-all drawers in the kitchen with old elastics and string.
Telephones in homes are not sleek or compact. They are simple to use. They are located beside comfortable seating or at tables. They are not located at a desk. You don’t work the phone in a home. You talk on it.
Homes have pictures of people and family on the walls that have celebrated corny birthdays, or graduated or achieved something or even climbed a mountain.
Artwork in homes is almost always original and every piece has a story. Unless it has real significance, there is rarely a copy or numbered reproduction of anything in a home.
Homes have radios in the kitchen tuned to the CBC, not little portable televisions tuned to CNN all day long.
There might be a secret kept in a home, but there is no tension.
Homes have ovens that are level. Some even have little wooden shims on one side, that stand as proof to the effort and labour that went into making sure that the baking inside the oven will not have an angle to it when it comes out to cool on the counter.
Homes have supper on the stove.
There are book shelves in homes that contain a hodge-podge of precious books and picture albums that are placed by the measure of content value, not matching book cases with neat rows of books that are placed for aesthetics.
Homes don’t have coffee table books. They have newspapers.
Homes don’t have the latest in environmental control technology. They have ceiling fans.
Homes have closets with extra pillows and blankets. They also have a roll-out bed or an air mattress in the basement that can be brought upstairs for someone to stay over. Many homes have extra rooms but they do not have a “formal guest room” for visitors that are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday at three o’clock.
Good homes usually have a musical instrument or two hanging around; maybe some old records and favourite CDs in mismatched jackets. They do not have an entertainment wall unit with the latest CDs stacked so neatly that you are afraid to touch them.
You should not be able to eat off the floor of a nice home.
Homes don’t have fireplaces with opulent mantels that don’t get used because it would ruin the display. They have woodstoves that people sit around and get warm.
Homes don’t have closets for guests with designer coat hangers. They have well worn hooks by the door for you to put your coat on when you come in. Sometimes one hook is reserved for a dog leash that hangs down beside an old pair of boots.
Homes have tablecloths and flowers. The very heart of a nice home is almost always the kitchen.
You can hear a clock ticking softly during the night in a home and a comforting patter on the window when it rains.
Above everything else, everyone feels safe when they come home.
Those are some of my thoughts about home. Maybe yours are different. My point is that anybody can buy a house, but it takes good, special people to create a home.
May you be surrounded by comfort and joy this holiday season and on Christmas Day. May you be at home.
Heino Molls is publisher of REM.
By: Heino Molls