What Is Home?

February 18, 2012
By , North Miami Beach, FL
My home is not where I live.
I live in sunny Miami Beach, Florida. Apart from the overcrowded beaches, Miami is also a party capital of the world. I could never consider that my home. A home should not include flashy furniture, but rather decrepit pictures with the edges torn. I define “home” as a place I can fully be myself. Miami is not that for me. Instead, my home is located in rural Mount Airy “Mayberry,” North Carolina.
Mount Airy is like a town you would only see in movies. In fact, the small, crime-free fictional town Mayberry, in The Andy Griffith Show, is based on Mount Airy. Hence why the town has the nickname. In Mayberry, neighbors actually care if you are ill or upset. That is what I want. Miami is just like its drivers, rude and impatient; this can be a dangerous combination. I am not concluding everyone in Miami is sinister, but the folk in Mayberry have the “southern charm” that always leaves you with a smile.
I often tell my family I could never imagine residing in a town that consists only of a Belk’s and a Big K; on top of that, Mt. Airy only has radio stations that play songs that were popular in 1960. Nevertheless, I have learned it is not the attractions in a city that makes you want to stay, but its people, those who make you have that special connection a designer store cannot overcome.
My great-grandmother lives in Mount Airy. Every year, my family travels from various regions of the country to the rural town to celebrate her birthday. We throw a gigantic party and invite everyone. Aside from Christmas, the party is what the residents of Mayberry look forward to each year. I certainly do. I wait the whole year for the two days I get to go to Snappy lunch and purchase a ground steak burger with cheese. That weekend I get to be myself.
My great-grandmother is 97 years old and constantly sick. I am afraid when my great-grandmother passes away my family will lose their connection with the small town. I never will. The days I spend in Mt. Airy will dwindle. It might be decades before I am able to hear the infamous whistling theme song, from The Andy Griffith Show, as I walk down Main Street.
Miami may seem like paradise. But it is not for me. I might not be able to return to Mayberry anytime soon, but I will always have the pictures and the memories I have shared that can keep me whole. Andy Griffith, a widely known American actor who grew up in the town of Mt. Airy said, while taping an episode of his hit-television series, “There's something about Mayberry and Mayberry folks that never leaves you. No matter where life takes you, you always carry in your heart memories of old times and old friends.”
My home is where I want it to be, this I believe.





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