Making McPherson my home was an accident more than anything. McPherson was a quick stop on the road to a bigger, better life. McPherson was a place to stop and rest my bones for a bit while I gathered supplies and kept on going.
Today is Libby and McPherson’s 8 Year Anniversary. I don’t know what the traditional gift is for 8 years of togetherness but I hope it’s something like, “public digital love letter” because that’s what McPherson is getting.
Before I lived here, I was in a friend’s guest room where I’d been sulking, jobless, and horribly depressed without having the words for it. She was moving and so it was time for me to move, too. But where to go when you’ve been basically unemployed for the past six months? You go back home.
Well… McPherson was never my home. My place of origin wasn’t under my family’s control anymore, though, so I found the next best thing. My older brother, his wife, and their two kids were living in McPherson. They told me that I could stay with them until the apartment upstairs opened up and I could work at the deli half a block away. In the meantime, I made a plan to move to Denver in a year when my lease would be up. This would give me a year to be aunt and to save some money and not get too attached before I took off for a bigger, better city–to be with someone that I thought I’d love forever. Someone that I don’t even talk to anymore.
But a year goes by really quickly and before I knew it, I could feel myself falling head over heels. For my niece and nephew (and all the more to come), for the town, and for my downstairs neighbor. Without warning I received a lease-renewal in the mail–I had 30 days to return it. I wasn’t ready to go! I was being pulled toward a future that I couldn’t predict but I knew it was here on these streets. I hadn’t even saved up enough money to buy a car, let alone to move to a brand new city. I panicked over it for a lot longer than I should have but, you know, you have to consider your plan–no matter how forgotten it had been, before you totally throw it out the window. I called the person that I loved in Colorado–he told me that I’d get sucked in to this town and never ever leave.
Like it was a bad thing.
It was the best thing. McPherson… you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
And I threw all plans out the window. I was plan-less. I had no idea what would be happening and while I felt like this was an age when I should have at least a semblance of an idea of what was coming up next, it felt more right to just ride the wave. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Sort of… my only plan now is to stay.
I made new friends. I got new jobs. I married the downstairs neighbor. I’ve been here long enough to describe new business as, “you know, that place that used to be a flower shop but before that I think it was a pharmacy?” I’ve been here long enough to develop a Cheers-like familiarity with everyone that frequents my usual haunts. When I walk into the coffee shop, there are so many people to say “hi” to. When we leave the bar, everyone shouts “have a good night!”
This is home. I have known so many homes in my life but this is the first one that ever felt like it loved me back.
McPherson, I love you. Happy 8 Years. And here’s to eighty more.