April Jeppson: Visiting home is like wearing a comfy sweater

Published 8:45 pm Friday, September 3, 2021

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I’m sitting in the front porch of my parents house. This is the house I grew up in, in the town I grew up in. Decorations are different and I’m sitting on a couch that my mother bought last year, but so much of this place feels exactly the same as it did 20 years ago.

April Jeppson

It’s Wild Rice Days weekend up in McGregor, and I couldn’t be happier. Soft rain woke me up this morning as a cool breeze blew threw the windows. I’m currently wearing jeans and a hoodie, and did I mention I couldn’t be happier? I’m wearing a big, oversized sweatshirt listening to my mother play Clue with my kids. I know that in a few hours food vendors will be set up in my little quiet town, and in 24 hours I’ll be walking through downtown, seeing friends and classmates I only see once a year.

My mother made wild rice soup this morning so we’d have something warm and delicious all ready for dinner tonight. My father is out in the garage with my husband frying up some fresh tortilla chips and talking about things that men discuss. Sports, vehicles, fishing, woodworking projects… I can guarantee the weather has come up at least once. It’s kind of fun to think that my husband is old enough to be talking about old man things.

My birthday is coming up, so we’re having a little party here tomorrow night with the family. Tacos are the traditional celebratory food of my people. My grandparents lived in southern California for 10 years in the late 1940s. They had an avocado tree in their yard and enjoyed fresh tortillas from the small Mexican grocery store down the street. When they moved back to Minnesota, they took their love of tacos with them. So almost every birthday party or get-together is filled with fried tortillas, homemade salsa and about a dozen other must-haves for a proper feast.

I saw that one of my friends is now the school nurse here in town. When I went to school, my boyfriend’s mom was the nurse. She was also our cheerleading coach. We’d hang out in the nurse’s office after lunch before the bell rang. Talk about all sorts of things that high school kids talk about with teachers they enjoy.

I dreamt of my classmates last night. I always dream about them when I come into town. Being in this house gives me the most intense flashbacks. In my dream we were in the hallways, and I was fiddling with the lock on my locker. All my friends looked exactly like they did when we were 16. I love dreams like that. Occasionally I’ll dream about my grandmother, and it seems so real. I wake up with the sensation that we actually got to spend some time together and it feels wonderful.

My mother just called from the kitchen to let me know that lunch is done, in the same way she did when I was a kid. I love it here. Visiting my hometown is just like putting on a big, comfy sweater. It just feels so good and makes my heart happy.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.