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home Is Where The Pillow Is

by Lloyd A. de Vries

That's not a typo in the headline. Read on for the explanation.

My wife gets upset when I refer to my North Carolina apartment as "home."

"Isn't Home the house you own in which your wife is living?" she asks.

Well, yes. Guilty with an explanation, your honor.

"Home," with a capital "H," is indeed where my family is living, which, yes, happens to be a house that I (partly) own (along with my wife and the mortgage holder).

It was also my parents' house until my mother sold it. For awhile, I had two Homes. (Sorry, dear.)

But "home," with a lowercase "h," is also wherever I'm going to sleep that night. I've been known to say at a stamp show that I'm going "home," to the hotel in which I'm staying. That includes the North Carolina apartment, which was never intended to be "home" for more than a year.

If there were subtitles on my telephone conversations with my wife, she'd know whether I'm referring to "home" or "Home." At a stamp show, when I tell someone I left a piece of philatelic equipment or Dragon Cards "home," with subtitles, they'd know whether I meant it was up in my room and easily accessible, or hundreds of miles away and not. (With closed captioning, as I started to write, they'd have no clue why I left something in a "hole" or with a "gnome." If you want to watch the funniest shows on television, read the closed captioning during live news interviews.)

Speaking of home and Home, I haven't been at either much this summer; I've been traveling more than usual. Some of it was a fluke.

On behalf of my former employer, I got a chance to attend SCOPEX, one of the best club shows in the country, at the American Philatelic Society headquarters. Then, after I was let go, there were still airline tickets in my name for which no refund was possible, so I went to Minnesota Stamp Expo in July. I saw people and dealers I knew, but also people and dealers I didn't.

I took my usual two-week stamp show tour in August, this year in the Midwest (Milwaukee, Cleveland and northern Indiana between StampShow and Americover).

Then I spent 10 days at Home, mostly for family and music, but I did get a chance to replenish my traveling stock of Dragon Cards and confirmed a sellout that had snuck by me. On the way back from New Jersey, I took Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Shenandoah National Park, picking up a picture postcard I might use if there is a stamp for the National Park Service centennial in 2016. Then I decided to see if I could get to the Appomattox Court House National Park before it closed, in anticipation of the sesquicentennial there in 2015. I arrived at the gate at 5:00:01 p.m., so the answer was "no, I couldn't get there before closing."

This time. But I'm planning on attending the William H. Gross Gallery opening at the National Postal Museum later this month. Maybe that's another opportunity for a visit to Appomattox.

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