The grass isn’t always greener on the other side

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Dorothy was right….there’s no place like home, especially on a cold, wet, winter day.

It seems that as the birthdays mount up – now just two shy of reaching number 70 – the need to spread my wings and see the world is fading fast. There was a time when I wanted to travel and visit places I’ve only had the opportunity to read and dream about, but now that notion seems more like work – via planning, packing, and selecting the right travel package – than fun.

Plus, with the way the world is today – a health pandemic with no end in sight along with folks meaner than snakes – I feel much safer within the confines of my home.

Three incidents this past weekend are proof of just how misguided the human race has become.

On Saturday at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas (located near Fort Worth), a man, armed with a handgun, entered and held four people hostage. The victims, including a Rabbi, had gathered for a Saturday morning service.

The ordeal ended after nearly an 11-hour standoff where all the worshipers and the Rabbi were rescued. The intruder, a 44-year-old man with no known connection to the synagogue or the victims, was shot and killed by a FBI Hostage Rescue Team. It is believed that the intruder had demanded the release of a woman convicted in 2010 for the attempted murder and armed assault on US officers in Afghanistan. That woman was being held in a Texas prison, but neither the worshipers nor the Rabbi had anything to do with her being incarcerated.

Also on Saturday in New York City, a man shoved a woman onto the path of an oncoming subway train in Times Square. That unprovoked attack led to the 40-year-old woman’s death. Afterwards, the man was reported as saying… “Yes I did. I’m God, I can do it.”

And right here in North Carolina, a Pender County man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly shot and killed his mother, his sister, and his 13-year-old son as they all sat inside a car parked at a shopping center in Wilmington.

Between those three incidents and all the political and moral divide that is plaguing our nation and our world, I choose to remain in a place where I feel safe.

When Dorothy clicked the heels of those ruby red slippers together near the end of the 1939 Hollywood classic “The Wizard of Oz” and uttered the still famous line – “There’s no place like home” – she was longing to be in a place of love and familiarity. Her world had been uprooted by a tornado, one that carried her to a strange and faraway place. And even though she met new friends, those faces turned out to be people from her past….ones that she loved and trusted.

Such is why we feel safe at home. Despite the perils and pitfalls of the world around us, home represents family, past and present.

As I peered out the window early this past Sunday morning and witnessed a light snowfall, it took me back to a place (at the same address) where my sister, brother and I would bundle up for a day of adventure. There were snowmen to build….snowball fights with the other children in our community, and sledding down the hill on what is now known as PineTops Road near Johnson Lane.

We would walk through the woods in search of a place to play King of the Hill, or search for tracks of wildlife who themselves were moving around on a cold winter’s day.

There was also snow to gather and take home so mom could whip up a batch of snow cream. That was an uncommon treat to enjoy, given the fact that snow was and still is a rarity in our little corner of the world.

Home is the base of where all things begin as well as lessons are taught and learned. As a child, homework from school was done before the TV could be turned on. But “homework” could also include keeping the house cleaned, working in the farm fields, mowing grass, helping out in the garden…the list goes on and on. And on Sundays, every Sunday, rain or shine, you put on your best clothes and went to church. In between those weekly services, we took a knee by our bedside each night and prayed to God for his grace and mercy.

The reward you obtained for doing all those things was not monetary in nature. Rather, you received praise and admiration for doing things the right way – God’s way – and by following the rules.

That, in turn, serves as the foundation on which a person builds moral and ethical character. You know and understand the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong, and accept the consequences upon crossing that boundary. You keep building upon that foundation as you grow older and pass along what you’ve learned during life’s journey to the next generation.

In the movie, Dorothy actually never left Kansas as everything she experienced was simply a dream. But the underlying lessons of the movie plot are numerous….there are bumps and potholes along every “yellow brick road” but don’t be afraid to make your own path in life; always be open to making new friends, even those who look or act differently than you; and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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