Where the heart is…

By Keith Strange

August 6, 2013

So my mom came down from Washington, D.C., this weekend with my brother and his child.

And I guess it was about time, too, since she had not met the little lady or our son, who just turned 3 months old. (And is full of fire, if you ask me. Not only is he getting much stronger, he’s also become quite a bit fussier. )

Anyway, upon arriving at Strange’s House of Mirth, mom was immediately in love with it.

“Wow, this house is great,” she enthused before both her feet crossed the threshold. “I love it.”

Of course, the second thing she said was along the lines of “Hi. Where is the baby?”

She cooed and “awwed” for the few seconds it took for us to hand him to her, of course.

Which led to three hours of comfort for Mason, who absolutely loves being held, so he was in hog heaven.

But the point of this little missive occurred when we finally got the chance for me to show them around Mount Airy and surrounding locales.

We started out with the usual, a little drive down Main Street that ended up with us parking and her taking pictures of things like Snappy Lunch and Floyd’s Barber Shop and whatnot. The usual. We did go into Opie’s Candy Store, where mom fell in love finding some of her now-hard-to-get childhood candies. She munched.

Since I know both my mom and brother like mountains, we also drove down Pine Street into Lowgap to where the vistas open up and the surrounding mountains are clearly visible.

Which led to the predictable “wow, this is beautiful” remark.

Perhaps not so predictable was her rolling down the window on the return trip and breathing in deeply. “Smell that air,” she exclaimed. “It smells so much cleaner and fresher than at home. I wish I could bottle it and take it home with me.”

I guess my point is that I may have forgotten how great this little corner of Surry County really is.

You know how it is: You work in a pizza restaurant and you forget how good the pizza smells and tastes after a while.

But seeing it through the eyes of others really helped restore my appreciation for the place I now call home.

After traveling quite a bit, living in both small towns and very large cities, I never found anywhere that I wanted to call home, much less called home.

So it’s refreshing to have it brought back to my attention.

Both my mother and my brother, who works in computers after serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the last few years, have now fallen in love with Mount Airy.

I’ll let them tell you themselves:

“I really wish I could find a way to move to this beautiful place and have a home like yours,” mom said wistfully.

“If I could find a job down here, I really would consider moving,” my brother said quietly when everyone was out of earshot. “This would be a great place to raise my family.”

I understand completely, little brother. I’m home. And I ain’t moving any more.

Keith Strange is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at or 719-1929.