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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Lights of home
lift the spirits

Flying westward over Texas, I could see an orange rim and twilight ahead, but the land below was dark. After a week in St. Louis, I longed to be home, and strained to see the lights of Midland.

As I peered out the Southwest Airlines window for mile after mile, I spotted only an occasional lighted ranch house or oil rig. “Are we there yet?” my childish mind kept asking. “I want to see the lights of home.”

When Midland/Odessa finally did appear, the lights looked like Christmas all over again.

Many a night when our family of seven was headed back to Flomot after a trip to Gainesville or Dickens or Plainview, I looked for those lights every time we topped a hill. “Maybe over the next hill,” I would console myself when all I could see was dark and more dark.

Farm and ranch houses might have a coal-oil lamp that twinkled dimly in the distance, but I wanted more than that. Flomot didn’t have street lights, but Putt Gilbert’s and Speer’s gins were well lighted in the fall. Kuykendall’s grocery had a light over the porch, and a couple of service stations were islands of light. The John Deere dealership had a tall outdoor light, I suppose to protect the machinery from thieves. I never heard of anything being stolen in Flomot, but it could happen.

What a thrill to top a hill and see those lights! “We’re here! We’re here! A few more miles and we will be home in bed!”

Home was about three miles outside of Flomot, and there were no lights to see if Mama was with us. You don’t go off and leave a coal-oil lamp burning when nobody is home. On those Saturday nights when we went to Quitaque or Turkey, Mama usually stayed home, and we could see a light in the living room when we got close. My how it cut through the dark and welcomed weary travelers.

Even after I married a Quitaque boy, Mama and Daddy’s house was home. We lived in Temple those first few months, and I can still feel the excitement of the long drive home with Uncle Ordis and Aunt Olene (Leon stayed in Anson, where he had found work on an oil rig). It was late at night when we arrived unexpectedly, and the only lights were the moon and stars. I nudged Gail over to make room in her bed, and was fast asleep when Mama discovered me the next morning.

Coming home is as much a thrill now as it was then. Whether I have had a pleasant trip or a miserable one, I long to top that last hill, where I can see the lights of Pecos.

These last months I have looked for the lights of my heavenly home, and the words of Johnny Cash’s song ring in my head. “For the way’s been long and weary but at last the end is nearing and over the next hill we’ll be home.”

“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2, NIV

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at

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