Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Humor Column

Yesterday, a few people mentioned that they would like to see the humor column I write. It's in a small, local journal, circulation 8,900. My column has the same name as this blog, and I want it to be a bit like the articles Erma Bombeck wrote in her day. (Except for the fact Erma was incredibly awesome, and I really don't compare.) Call this a Tribute To Erma column. I focus on the things we all know: children, spouses, housework, bills, aging, etc. I try to point out the lighter side of these things. Not laugh out loud humor, mind you, just a little smile-during-the-course-of-your-day humor.

The title of this week's installment is, "You Can Go Home Again." I've shortened the article to fit better into blogger format.

Remember that age-old axiom, "you can't go home again"? Silly. Ridiculous. Absurd. Of course you can. I did. And it taught me something, too.

I was born in Portland, Oregon, during the halcyon days of spring in 196... Well, let's just say I'm an Oregonian and leave it at that. For me, growing up in the Pacific Northwest was a dream. Rain was my favorite season. (Let's face it, when the sun did make an appearance our joints creaked more than the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz.)

A few summers ago, our family took a road trip back to my hometown, and I was the human equivalent of that dog we've all seen. You know, the one with the canine grin who blissfully sticks its head out of the car window as the wind whips its face. So great was my joy at seeing the Columbia River Gorge, I felt tears gathering at the corners of my eyes. From unrestrained emotion, not the wind. We stopped at Multnomah Falls, took the kids on a short hike, and then drove into the city.

We had no more crossed the Willamette than an angry motorist flipped us the bird. That put a momentary damper on my nostalgia. The weather was also chillier than I remembered. I'm not kidding, the Portlanders at the zoo wore woolly Peruvian sweaters and thick socks under their Birkenstock sandals.

In August.

Yes, that's the month we, in Utah, call The Hot Time or The Big Heat. (Okay. Maybe I'm the only one in Utah who calls it that. But we all think it, right?)

I showed my old home to my children, and it was lovely, but nearly unrecognizable. The yard I had known as a girl was as different as the house. The bridge and pond were gone, and the Yew climbing tree had been cut down.

The Oregon beach was absolutely gorgeous. However, I am not the daredevil I used to be. After trying to body surf with my older children, I realized I couldn't tolerate the water temperature as I did before. Honestly, this water was not merely freezing. My children ran in and then away from it.

How cold was it, you ask?

Cold enough that you'd prefer to go skinny dipping in the North Sea in January than test it with your toe, cold enough that you wouldn't be surprised to see a polar bear doing the back stroke in the nearest tidal pool, cold enough that even the migrating whales wear wet suits when they pass through those waters. Alright. Maybe I'm exaggerating. Slightly.

Obviously, everything changes. Portland and I both look different after all these years. Truth be told, I've discovered that I prefer warm weather since living in the desert. I will always be a Portland girl. But maybe, I'm also a Wasatch Front, Utah county girl as well.

Revisiting the past is worthwhile. It illuminates the present. It helps us realize how good things were and often, how much better they are now. Home is a relative term, after all. When we're with the people we love, our roots settle, and we're there. I'm home each time my husband and kids walk through the door.

And yet, a bit of my heart will always belong to that beautiful City Of Roses.

Can't go home again? Hah. The next thing you know, they'll be saying you can't change a leopard's spots. . . Silly. Ridiculous. Absurd.

Thanks for taking the time to read over this bit of nonsense. I enjoy writing for a community newspaper. It's nice to hear feedback from my neighbors.

Oh, my muse Daniel Craig is fed up with the noise my son is making. He says he's going to fetch a cup of tea and stretch out with a good book since I'm busy blogging. I'm not complaining. When Dan was bored yesterday, he sat next to me and cleaned his gun. I guess I better get back to work. Happy writing to all!


  1. Nonsense? Now way! Awesome? Yes way.

    It made me nostalgic for good ol' Boca Raton, FL. Okay, that may be pushing it. I'm pretty sure it's required that you are made of 20% plastic to return home, there ;)But, it did make me nostalgic :)

  2. Love it! You are a true master. Thanks for mentioning your muse. I love how you write him in. :)
    My kid is climbing up a chair onto the window sill--do you think he wants my attention?
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Roxy I LOVE this. I love how you write, it's so real and engaging. And yes my friend, you do compare to that Erma chick, even though I don't know who she is, I do know you and you are awesome :)

  4. Very cute! I love how you exagerrate. You were exagerrating, right?

    My husband grew up in Portland. It is a great place--- to visit. I don't do 300 days of rain a year very well.

    I write a humor column for my local paper, too. Makes my day when someone calls me a "character."

  5. Danial Craig is your muse - how did you score that? What you said is true - of course you can go back home. I visit my hometown a lot since my mom still lives there, but it's definitely not the same. I'm feeling more and more like I don't belong there. My aunt lives in my childhood home and it's surreal to go there and have everything be basically the same except the furniture and the pictures on the walls. My grandpa died last fall. He'd lived in the same house all my life and while everything changed around him, his house stayed the same. Now it's been remodeled and I don't want to see the change. Of course we can go back home, but sometimes it can be very painful.

  6. I love how you said when our roots settle we're home. Really enjoyed reading this.

  7. That is a very funny post. You should always give a link to the articles, if they're on-line. If not, they should be on-line.

    I always go home, and some parts aren't me anymore, but I still like going back. Since I visit enough, the changes aren't as jarring. Here's a post I once wrote:

  8. This is wonderful. I love it! I've often thought of submitting to a local paper. This just may give me the courage to do so.

    Yes, you can always go home. Home, however may not be what you remember it or what you wish it was, but it's still home.

    Love your muse :) Never thought to invite a real actor to take the job. Hmmm...this has me thinking...


  9. Great! Loved the line about how "Portland and I look a lot different," so true. Our perspective has changed.

  10. Remember when Buddy the Elf says, "What's a Christmas gram? I want one!" I say the same about a muse. Someone tell me what it is first?

  11. Haha! Oh, that was cute! Very nice article. Oregon is one of the few states I haven't visited. I really want to. Someday!

  12. Great post Roxy, and unfortunately I never go "home". The last time I did I cried the whole time I was there because so many things had changed. I'm one of those people who hates change, in all its forms.

    And you are a true Erma Bombeck, especially with your face out the car window.

  13. Great post. Very true and it made me a little nostalgic for home. :)

  14. Oh yes, this is soooo true!!!

    I did something similar once (to where I lived as a young child) and I was so disappointed. However, on the flip side I also went back to where I lived my teenage years and I was pleasantly surprised! I suppose my difficult teen years tainted everything...

  15. If you call this nonsense... I would hate to hear what you thought about my writing. LOL. Loved this, Roxy!

  16. I love this piece, Roxy. You have nice voice in your writing, and your humor definitely made me smile. :) :)

  17. Roxy, can I work out some kind of trade/barter system to share Danny Boy? My house is a bit raucous at the moment, some blue eyes, tea and gun cleaning would be just lovely. I promise not to hurt him.
    (dude, that torture scene in the chair... my husband cannot watch that scene at all.)

    Loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Wet suited whales! Huzzah!

  18. Thank you all for being so nice. You guys leave such funny, charming comments.
    MT- a muse is something or someone that inspires you. Have a great time selecting your muse.
    Everybody- Feel free to invite Daniel over to your blogs. There's enough of him to go around. By the way, he has something special planned for tomorrow.
    P.S. Twitter is killing me... I am overwhelmed by Twitter. Also, what are your thoughts on WeBook?

  19. Loved it, Roxy! Of course we can go home again! Home remains with us forever in our memories, unchanged and welcoming. We can visit anytime we like.

    As for Twitter, I can't figure it out. Hashtags are an enigma. What is WeBook? Dare I ask?

  20. VR- WEBook is an online company that gives you the opportunity to enter in a writing contest that rates your first page reader response with algorithms. If the readers like your first page and rate it well you move on. Agents are supposed to be checking and discovering new talent. You should look it up, and give me your opinion.

  21. This was so lovely to read. Thank you very much for sharing! I moved back to my home town several years ago after 5 years away and everything felt so RIGHT. I am so glad to be here, every day.
    I share your weariness with Twitter. I think that's one bandwagon I'm not going to get on (at least not for now.) But now I have to find out what WEBook is. Thanks for the tip!

  22. Nice to meet you Roxy, I'm so happy to be following along on your journey.

    After reading this snippet it is no surprise that you are a gifted writer! I agree with Jen you should consider submitting to a larger publication- even maybe some online sources like Christianity Today.