We all have childhood memories, some good, some bad, some we never knew we had until something triggers them years later.

At five, I was the kindergartener walking from school with my grandfather, to the local pub. I’d complain about the nuns wanting me to color between the lines while he bought me a coke and let me re-design a newspaper with my crayons while he chatted with his friends. At some point we’d walk home together to eat.

A year later, I’m no longer living with my grandparents, but in a new neighborhood with a new school. Couldn’t understand why some of the older kids kept calling my Paddy, even when I told them it wasn’t my name. Also, I had to come straight home from school, no stops. When I was finally winning a fight with the local bully an adult pulled me off him and told me I shouldn’t be fighting. And just about the time I was getting settled in, it was time to move again.

I’ve grown used to moves, at ease with the adjustments they bring, have actually made a good living going into new places, learning about them and helping the “natives” improve their businesses and their communities. But where I’ve lived, where I’ve worked, where I’ve called home has always been a byproduct of some other decision, some other reason. One of these decisions brought me to Raleigh, which became my true home for well over thirty years, with real roots and true friends. Other places along my path also yielded wonderful friendships with wonderful people – friendships that endure to this day.

The time has come for me to choose a place because it’s right for me, because it’s where I want to be. Not for someone else’s reason, not as a byproduct of some other decision I’ve made, but simply because I feel comfortable in it.

In all my travels, I’ve discovered a small number of places where I feel the roots growing from my feet, reaching down and pulling nourishment from the ground while the air around me permeates my soul. I’ve chosen one of them to live in.

Thank you, Cork. I’m home.