To maket, to market to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

It is an old nursery rhyme that I can remember my mother saying as she bounced a child on her knee and I’ve used it as well when I’m playing with grandchildren and others. The spell checker on my computer things it should be “jiggery-jig” and “jiggery-jog,” but that is not the way I learned the nursery rhyme. I never learned the other verses, either. I found them on allnurseryrhymes.com:

The article says the origins of the rhyme are at least 300 years before its first publication in 1805 in the “Songs for the Nursery” collection.

To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
Home again, home again, market is late.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.

To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
To buy some meat to put in the pot;
Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn’t been killed it must have died.

Reading the last verse, I’m pretty sure why I didn’t memorize that one, though I think I will try to remember the second verse for the next time a grandchild wants to bounce on my knees.

At any rate, we are home. We’ve been traveling for six weeks, which is a long time for us. We’ve had other occasions in our lives when we’ve taken longer trips, most often in sabbatical years, but six weeks is a long trip. And this trip covered a lot of territory and a lot of emotions. We left earlier than our original plan in order to make it to the memorial service for my cousin. That meant that we had to leave the morning after Vacation Bible School finished, which meant staying up pretty late just picking up all of the classrooms after VBS. The original purpose of the trip was to be with our daughter at the birth of her first child, but he came early, on the day we were set to leave. Being born in Japan, however, meant that it was still Thursday night when he was born. He was born early, there were some initial health concerns and he spent his first weekend in the pediatric intensive care unit in Hachinohe. So we left the next morning, full of concern and worry and drove a long day towards our family homestead in northern Montana for my cousin’s service. The news improved with regular updates from our daughter and son in law. As it turned out, mom and son were doing well enough that we decided not to change our plane tickets, purchased long before we knew about my cousin’s memorial service, or that the baby would come early.

We had a good visit with our other grandchildren in Washington before boarding the plane and having a wonderful tine in Japan getting to know our new grandson and helping his parents with the adjustment of sleepless nights and frequent waking for feedings and all of the other things that are a normal part of a new baby in the house.

Having shifted our vacation, however, meant that on our return from Japan, we had to quickly drive back across the northwestern US to get home in time to be at work today. So it feels like a whirlwind of travel and activity for the past week, which it has been.

But we are home. We may be a bit tired, but we aren’t doing too bad and it will be good to get back to work. Last night, as we had a simple supper together, we got the giggles over the simple statements we heard each other make.

“I miss eating rice for breakfast.”
“It seems really dark outside for this time of night.”
“I miss hearing people speaking Japanese.”
“I wish people in the United States would mean it when they say, ‘Excuse me.’ It has a meaning of asking for forgiveness in Japan and in Canada, but here in the US it means, ‘Get out of my way!’”

The bottom line is that we really enjoy traveling and we feel deeply grateful for the opportunities we have had to go on wonderful adventures. And we like to travel together. As a team, we do a pretty good job of managing all of the tasks of travel and having a really good time. We do a pretty good job of sleeping in strange beds and experiencing strange restrooms. (There is probably a whole journal entry that could be written about Japanese toilets, but I’ll save that for another time.) And among the richest treasures of a long and happy marriage are the joys of being grandparents together. We love spending time with our grandchildren. And we already miss them very much.

All the same, there is something nice about sleeping in our own bed. There is something nice about returning to some of our routines. There is something deeply meaningful about the work we do and the church that has been our home for nearly a quarter of a century. We like the house where we live and it has been the place of so many memories. This is the place our children lived during their teenage years. It is the place my mother lived in the final years of her life. It is the place of many family gatherings and visits. And it is home.

the give and take of going and coming are part of the rhythm of life. Both leaving and returning are exciting and momentous. Being home means a few days of sorting and cleaning and doing laundry and getting the camper ready to go into storage. It also means picking up the responsibilities of bills to pay and chores to perform. Among the mail that accumulated during our absence is a juror summons, so I’ll have some extra duties during November, though it probably won’t amount to much of a disruption of my life.

So here we are as a new adventure begins. “Jiggety-jig!”

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!