So, I'm kicking off the Just Ask Challenge with a query from the very inventor of the game, Petya. She asks:
What is home like?
Great question, Petya. Not only do I like the vagueness of your question, but also its form. You don't ask what home IS, but what it's LIKE. For me, the associations I make with "home" are almost all sensual. Smells. Sounds. Touches and tastes. So, I'll start with those...
[Olfactory answer] Home is like... the smell(s) of barbecue, fabric softener, talcum powder, fresh-cut grass, hot biscuits, wood-burning stoves, fair food stands, frying bacon and piles of raked leaves.
[Aural answer] Home is like... a pedal steel guitar, a church choir, a football stadium cheer, "Rocky Top," a horn section, a B3 Hammond, Delta blues, Stax, Sun, a banjo, a train whistle, the ringing and dinging of a fair midway, a Southern drawl, the words "y'all" and "fixin'," what Isaac Hayes used to call "hot-buttered love songs," the "amen" of a congregation, clinking beer bottles in a bar and a well-stocked jukebox.
[Tactile answer] Home is like... sweltering humidity, oppressive heat, the bracing chill of walking into a buiding with AC when you're covered in sweat, barbecue sauce or grease on your fingers, bare feet in Bermuda grass, the stitches on a beat-up football, an afghan crocheted by my grandmother, mosquito bites, the exact amount of breeze that you can get on a front-porch swing, the furry ears of a good ol' dog and the vibrating handle of a gas-powered lawn mower.
[Gustatory answer] Home is like... barbecue (of course), anything overly buttered and/or deep-friend, gravy, pickled okra, homemade blackberry preserves from a mason jar, a Coke out of a real (and real cold) bottle, biscuits, oh-so-salty country ham, green jello "salad," any kind of cassarole, sweet tea, meats-and-threes plates, fair food, pie, Budweiser, Jack Daniels, a hot toddy, cornbread and greens with lots and lots of vinegar.
I had every intention of trying to answer this question abstractly, but I came to discover that "home" is very hard to describe apart from my home. That is, I think home is a lot more than the place you hang your hat. For example, I could never, ever associate "scrapple" with "home," no matter how long I lived in the Mid-Atlantic states.
Thanks for the question, Petya. And we're off!