Country Roads, Take Me Home (A Christmas Carol for the WV Girl)

      I'll admit something that might flabbergast some of you. I don't like Christmas music all that much. It annoys me that it starts before Thanksgiving and on some stations, it's all you hear for more than a month. I'm not a total Grinch-- Christmas music is ok in small doses, especially as we approach the actual holiday. However, the soundtrack to my Christmas travels is a little less season specific.
         If you've never heard John Denver's factually inaccurate love song to the Mountain State, then you clearly aren't from West Virginia or have never attended a WVU football game. In either event, if you haven't heard it, you should. The opening line, echoing one of West Virginia's mottos, says it all, "Almost Heaven, West Virginia." Every time I start planning for a trip home, that melody echoes through my mind. If you've never been to West Virginia, it really is as picturesque as the song makes it out to be. Gorgeous mountains, rolling valleys, blue and white rivers, sometimes glinting sunshine, sometimes frosted with ice. But, besides being scenic, it has one more attraction: it is the home of our hearts.
        There's something about the place where you grew up that just feels like home. It's familiar, even when you see changes. It makes you feel like you will always be safe there. Jeremy and I have moved around a lot as a couple, going where we could both find jobs that made us happy. We're very settled in our place in North Carolina and there is no doubt in my mind that it is our home. But, all of our family is in West Virginia. So, our history is there. Our childhood friends, our grandparents, our parents and siblings all still live in the Mountain State. So, going home for the holidays is a big family reunion where we take the time to reconnect with all those people we love most.
       We're starting our travels tomorrow and will be making stops to see family in both of our hometowns. We'l also be enjoying the drive through the "Mountain Mama" where we were born and raised.
      You might not hear from me much over the next several days. However, I sincerely wish a very merry Christmas to all of you out there that have shared our story over the last nine months. This hasn't been and continues not to be an easy road, but it is the path we know we need to take. My love and wishes for a safe and healthy new year for all of you as well.


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