We weren't expecting another trip yet, and we can't just git-up-n-go when pulling a trailer: It takes planning. But last October when I heard that my brother in California was deathly ill (not from covid-19), I wanted to see him. Although we planned to be gone for a month, we were gone for almost three months. Life is short, and we never really know what will happen from one year to the next. Not even from one day to the next.
We didn't know that covid-19 and the related political battles were about to hit the world when we packed up and hit the road. Although uncertainties on several fronts were abounding, and staying home was much more appealing than traveling, I needed to see my brother.
We really enjoyed the time with him. We played Rook a lot, ate grapefruit and oranges that grow in his backyard, and made lemonade from his lemons -- yep, growing in his back yard. He's not out of the woods yet -- meaning, we still have reasons to be concerned -- but he's doing better.
But can you believe it? I missed our home. Turning east on I-8 as we left the San Diego area, I told Carol, "I can probably put this rig on auto-pilot, and it should be able to find its way home." She laughed.
As we crossed the Arkansas border in Siloam Springs, Carol and I surprised each other by spontaneously erupting in unison: "HOME! WE ARE HOME!" We broke into joyous laughter.
Carol is a native Washingtonian from Seattle, and I'm a native Californian from San Diego; so, why do we call Siloam Springs "Home"?
The compound answer is simple, and I'll elucidate on several factors.
Some years ago, one of my cousins near San Diego asked, "What's the difference between Southern Cal and where you live?"
I understood his intent, and responded, "Jim, in Southern Cal, you use a freeway to go almost everywhere. In Siloam Springs, we have to look hard to find a freeway." That answered it for him, and is one of the reasons we like it here.
Everywhere man lives, there are problems because many people haven't responded to our Savior, Jesus Christ. But from my observations in our travels, we have much fewer problems in our town than in a great many other places. If you remember, back in 2012 the Smithsonian magazine named Siloam Springs in their list of the "20 Best Small Towns in America." I agreed with Smithsonian then, and I still agree.
It is peaceful here. For the most part, people in our town want to get along with others. Our citizens are intelligent. Our police department is staffed with upstanding, trustworthy, caring men and women who strive to keep us safe. People are willing to help others. One of the most important benefits of living here is the serenity that we experience. I understand that not everyone feels it, but Carol and I do.
Siloam Springs is in an ideal setting. We have safety, security, serenity, and solitude when we desire it. We don't have the crush of humanity pressing in on us from all sides, yet we're close to several busy and bustling towns such as Rogers, Bentonville, Fayetteville, and not too far from Tulsa. When we need to satisfy our desire for the Big Town Feel, those towns are available.
While on travel, people ask me where we live. When I tell them "Siloam Springs, Arkansas," most people don't know where that is. But for those who do know, they normally respond with, "Oh, I've been to Siloam! It's a beautiful and peaceful town, and I understand why you moved there." I know why we moved here, too. It is one of the nicest towns we've ever been in. Anywhere in town I might need to go is within walking distance: Walmart and Braum's are only three miles from home, other places I frequent are closer, and the town has provided walking trails for the adventurous souls.
While the controversies regarding covid-19 were flooding the nations' headlines, we went out only to get food, Carol and I did a lot of reading and writing, and we did not get cabin-fever. We didn't even feel imposed upon by the governmental decrees.
Why? We were HOME. We have the peace of God in our hearts, and the peace of Siloam Springs all around us.
We enjoy living in Siloam Springs: Our home town.
-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.