I’m finally all-in for Suffolk

Published 7:51 pm Saturday, August 6, 2016

My wife and I recently cut the last of the cords that connected us to Portsmouth.

Though we have lived in Suffolk since I took the editor’s position here at the Suffolk News-Herald in 2008, we have maintained a house in Portsmouth during that period, and we continued during most of that period to attend a church there.

I was born in Portsmouth, and there is much about the city I love. City Park, with its Pokey Smokey train (I rode the original, “dangerous” one); the Olive Branch cemetery, where, when I was young and it was still a vast, empty field, my father and I launched model rockets and flew kites; the neighborhood around our Park Manor home, where there wasn’t an inch of roadway that my bicycle tires hadn’t touched at some point — all those places bring the memories rushing back.

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And the memories Annette and I made in our home in Portsmouth are stunning when I consider them. In fact, I wrote a letter to the new owners the night after signing our closing papers, and I shared some of those memories with them. By the end of the letter, I was crying like a baby.

God used that home to do so much in our lives, and in many ways — even though we haven’t actually lived there for several years — it will always hold captive a part of my heart.

But Suffolk has been my real home for many years. When my family moved from Portsmouth in 1978, it was to come to Suffolk, where we’d built a house in the Sleepy Lake neighborhood. In fact, that’s where my wife and I live today, along with my mother.

My high school years were spent in Suffolk. My first real girlfriends were Suffolk girls (though I won’t cause folks to question their good sense by naming them here). My wife and I both work in Suffolk. And our house still bears evidence of the lives of my father and my grandmother, who both lived there until their deaths in 1999 and 2007.

This is home, and I couldn’t be happier to call it that. I love the fact that, as editor of this newspaper, I’m not just a guy passing through on the way to his next gig. If the Lord wants me in Suffolk, I’m happy and content staying here — at home — for the rest of my life.

That’s why I was so pleased this week to make our family’s final connection to Suffolk complete. Last week we joined a church here, concluding seven months of visits to various churches around this city, Carrollton and Smithfield. Along the way, we met some fine people, heard a few great sermons and sang some glorious worship music.

But there was nowhere we felt at home quite like we did at Liberty Spring Christian Church. Folks there have treated us like family members from the moment we walked in the front door. And we’ve been both challenged by the messages and encouraged by the opportunity to serve.

And, for my part, I’m excited at the prospect of finally being all-in for Suffolk.