home…



However trite it may be, I embraced the saying “Home is where the heart is” this weekend.  We traveled to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a charming, picturesque community east of Cleveland.  It is the kind of town that makes you love winter because, with the lake-effect, it is nearly always covered in snow.  The Main Street is lined with unique boutiques and a popcorn shop overlooking the steep falls.  The lightpoles (in large part due to my Aunt Nine’s efforts over the years) are always adorned with lights and evergreens.

I didn’t grow up in Chagrin but nearly every holiday was spent there.  I have vivid memories of driving up to my grandparent’s home seeing the giant-sized, antique Santa waving us in from the front doorstep.  Perhaps that is where my love for outdoor holiday decor stems from?  And, since I have had children we have visisted Chagrin at least twice a year.  While it might not be my home, it certainly is where my heart is.

The day before the Memorial Service was to be held for my grandfather, we stepped inside the Church of the Saviour.  This church is nothing short of spectacular.  The Gothic architecture, both inside and out, is inspiring.  As my brother would likely comment, “It ain’t no MTV church.”

For those who argue against organized religion, here is a gleaming example to refute it.  While I do not have a church to call home, this is as close as it gets.  The members of this church provided such significant support and “expressions of love” (as my grandfather coined) over the years that it was truly his home.

Within those walls, I was a flower girl for my Aunt Nine and Uncle Wally’s wedding.  In fact, before I walked in this past weekend, I could have described the floors of the church in detail.  For it was during the rehearsal for their wedding that I graced the alter with urine.  I am willing it is one of the only times someone has actually peed on the alter.  My mother had put the fear of God in me not to move.  Literally, I was so fearful that I left a large puddle where I stood patiently for the rehearsal to end.  I stared down at that terezzo floor until the procession began. Everyone soon figured out my secret as I went “squishing” down the enormously long aisle in my red tights and Mary Jane’s.

Within those walls, my son walked down the same aisle as a ring bearer nearly twenty-eight years later for my cousin, Betsy’s wedding. Thankfully, he left no ‘surprises’ behind.  He simply walked down the aisle and proceeded to fall fast asleep.

Within those walls, we ALWAYS had the first two rows on the right side for Sunday Service and holidays…my grandmother made SURE of it.  In fact, one of my funniest memories of her was sitting alone holding the first two pews after the Candlelight Service had begun on Christmas Eve.  There was standing room only and we were all late.  You have never seen a more divinely dressed woman, never without a hat, mind you, give her family the nastiest looking scowl as we scooted in to take our seats.  We still talk about it!

Within those walls, my grandfather spent three years authoring a historical book on the church with three other members.  He sang as John Wesley described, lustily, and with great emotion in the choir for years.  And, created two foundations for the church…one for the choir and another for pastoral visits.

So it was fitting that within those walls, this fine man was given what I considered the most extraordinary, and personal memorial I have ever witnessed.  Even if you didn’t know the man, you had an understanding of his extreme, yet odd, sense of humor.  He planned his funeral over a decade ago not ever imagining he would make it to 92 years of age.

So I left Chagrin with a feeling of joy and peace.  I left knowing that my grandfather would have enjoyed his funeral and would have been pleased with our clever changes.  I left knowing that particular relations had mended and we could still remain a family. I left knowing that home is not always a place…it is where your heart resides.

One Response to “home…”

  1. Stoner Six » Blog Archive » a ‘could have been’ seinfeld episode Says:

    […] haven’t just had him sitting around since December.  After spending several months in his home of worship, Church of the Saviour, he finally made his way back to his childhood home in Genessee, […]

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