Chicago is nice, but Caro is home — just ask my kid.
A few months ago, we had the opportunity to travel to Chicago. As a family, we boarded a train in Lapeer and headed six hours west.
It was our first time in Chicago and we were in great expectation of all of the wonderful things we would see and do. I have to say, Chicago didn’t disappoint us!
In fact, we were having such a great time, that my husband jokingly asked our daughter, Madeline, “What if we moved here?”
She thought about it.
“How would we get our furniture here?” she asked, wide-eyed. “My toys? What about my cat?”
“We would get a truck!” my husband said, keeping the joke going. “We would get a really big truck and move to Chicago. Would you like that?”
Madeline thought about it a little more.
“No. I like Caro,” she said.
And so our “hopes” of moving to Chicago were quickly dashed away.
It’s funny how a child can form an opinion of her hometown so quickly. In just four years, she knows that Caro is home. It’s where her friends know her as “Maddie” and where her Grammie makes the best banana bread and no-bake cookies “in the whole world.”
Caro is where she visits mommy at work — where she claims she loves the smell of the ink and paper that greets her at the door and even the smell of the sugar beets when she steps outside.
“I love that stinky factory,” she’ll say, wrinkling up her nose.
(I’ve told her that I think her sniffer might be broken.)
Caro is where Murdogs is located with those delicious deep-fried hot-dogs. It’s where she went bowling for the first time at Brentwood and watched her first movie on the Strand Theatre’s big screen, and where she rides carnival rides and pets a cow at the Tuscola County Fair.
It’s where Harvey Pumpkin stops, leans down and waves to her at the Pumpkin Festival.
She got her first “big girl” haircut by Alison in Caro. And she has discovered the joy and wonder of a local library… right in Caro.
Her hometown is a trip to TSC to pick out a new plastic horse at the check-out. It’s an occasional stop at Darbee Park and riding in the cart at VG’s and maybe even shyly hiding if the manager, Judd, says “hello there, young lady.”
Caro is what she knows and it’s home — for now.
Who knows what she will want to do when she is 18, 19 or 20? She recently told Dawn in Dollar Daze, “I’m not leaving my mommy.”
And while a big part of me hopes that is true, that little girl is more independent than she knows. Someday she might fly the nest, but this town will always be home.
Amy Joles is the editor of the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at email@example.com.