Today, Easter Monday, was my last official day in Advance, Missouri.
Official meaning: unless I choose to go back, on my own, there is nothing pertaining to my current life that will call me back to there.
No births, no deaths, no family, no obligations.
Advance, Missouri, the town itself, will call me back though. I just know it.
My family is buried there. My memories take me there. My children enjoy being in a small town.
Today as we drove the 3 hours down, my boys started naming regions. Gordonville became Farmville (and no, they are not on facebook!). Dutchtown became Farmville Village. Advance became Grandma's home.
What made me mourn most at my Great Aunt's funeral was the fact that what my boys called "Grandma's home" should have a house somewhere that they could go to see family. The funeral home didn't cut it.
We drove down the highway, through the Cracker Barrel signs, into the McDonald's and into the regions where these entities do not exist. Down the backroads where the populations start at 224 and end in 1244. Alongside field rows that run with you as you drive along. Past many water towers and flooded fields.
We drove down the highway through towns that are dying out into towns that are thriviing.
All the time while driving, I felt like I was driving home. Not mine, but the home of my family.
It was wonderful. Yes, there is no official reason for me to go back, but I know we will.
Because after all, Advance is not pronounced as in Monopoly "Advance to go, collect your two hundred dollars", it is pronounced Aadvaance, with a southern twang, and that is what people do there. They Advance themselves.