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"Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


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I can totally relate to Karen's story. I feel happiest when I'm just at home, and can hear the washer going! My earliest and most soothing memories are of my mother doing the laundry and I think Karen's story will brind a smile of remembrance to many of us.

by Karen Harper DeLoach

Take a sunshiny Saturday morning. Combine it with the sound of a washing machine churning. Add the mingled fragrances of fabric softener and bleach. Top it off with a quiet house, momentarily free from the distractions of husband and kids. Why does that particular combination have such power to soothe me? After all, if the washer is going, there must be work involved!

But the sounds and smells of washday inevitably trigger my senses with a moment of pleasure. Memories of my mother slip into my thoughts, and I'm four years old again.

That was the year I learned about homesickness. It makes you sick to your stomach. Your chest feels heavy, like it is full of rocks. Your heart hurts. Ironically, I was thrilled to learn that such a sickness existed.

My aunt Mabel had surgery, and Grandpa and Grandma Harper were babysitting her daughter. The grownups decided that I would be good company for my little cousin Peggy. I didn't want to go! I liked playing with Peggy, and I loved my grandparents, but I didn't want to leave my mother.

A couple of days into the visit, Grandpa caught me crying. He stooped down in front of me and asked, "What's wrong, Susie?"

I hesitated. I was a big girl. Only babies cry for their mothers. I couldn't tell him I was crying because I missed Mama. Without a second thought, I blurted out, "I'm sick, Grandpa."

He was totally sympathetic. He prayed for me. He laid his big hand on my forehead and asked God to heal me.

Oh, no! My throat didn't hurt. I wasn't throwing up. I hadn't coughed or sniffed once, so I wasn't really sick. I lied to Grandpa! I could barely stand the guilt. At bedtime, I prayed, "Forgive me, Jesus, for lying to Grandpa."

It wasn't until later that I realized I hadn't really lied to him at all.

At last the week was over, and my grandparents drove me home. When I opened the car door, I heard the washing machine on the carport swish-swish-swishing. Sheets flapped in the breeze on the clothesline out back. The sun shone brightly, casting a glow over our little bungalow. Mama quickly came out of the house as the screen door banged behind her. I ran to her, and when she stooped down to hug me, she smelled of clean clothes and sunshine, a fragrance I have forever associated with home, security, and Mama.

As if it wasn't enough just to be home again, Mama had a treat for me. "Run into the kitchen, Karen, and look in the bottom cabinet," she said, before greeting Grandma and Grandpa. I raced into the house to discover my prize, a tiny box of raisins. What a treat!

Later that night, as she tucked me into bed, Mama asked, "How was your visit at Grandma and Grandpa's?"

"It was O.K.," I said, glancing toward the wall. I could never look Mama in the eye when I wasn't giving her a straight answer.

"What's the matter?" She brushed my bangs off my forehead. "Were you homesick?"

Homesick? There was such a thing as homesick? I was so relieved! I hadn't lied to Grandpa after all.

Karen Harper DeLoach Copyright 2004

Karen is the author of Thirty-one Years and a Stumble. She and her siblings have just signed a contract to have their book published: Musings, Meditations, and Memories of One Slightly Dysfunctional Family. Her stories have been published in God Allows U-Turns: American Moments, 2theHeart: People Who Make a Difference, Women Alive! Magazine, and several church publications and e-zines. She is the mother of three sons and works with her husband Bill at his business in Statesboro, GA. To read an excerpt from her book, please visit her web site at .


Inspirational gifts for any holiday or occasion!


The Letter Box:

Dear Mike Segal,
Your birthday story was so inspiring. I believe we have angels protecting us, and that sometimes they can be friends. I agree with Susan - you were saved for a reason and quite possibly that reason could be to share your wonderful writings. God bless you! Sarah B. NY

Dear Mike,
Thank you for such an inspirational story! It is one of my all time favorites and I look forward to more of your stories and reading about the miracles in your life. Sincerely,

I wanted to write about two stories that I really loved and want to thank both the writers for. Lissa Lee's story and Mike Segal's story both were so wonderful and touched my heart. Thank you for all the stories on 2TheHeart, but especially these two.

God bless, A devoted fan, Lily in Australia

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