I know firsthand what it’s like to be homesick, and I don’t just mean the summer camp variety of homesickness. I mean the kind where there is no sun like the Alabama sun, no breeze like the Gulf breeze, and no barbeque that can satisfy.
My first “real” job was with Ford Motor Co. in Detroit. After brief recruiting visits staying at the Ritz Dearborn, it seemed like an exciting place to start a career (suffice it to say the industry was much more hopeful at the time). Fast forward to the 7th month of a gray winter where I was practically infirm from Seasonal Affective Disorder and inadequate skills for driving on snow (boyfriend, now husband, was still in Birmingham, another impediment to coping with frozen car door handles). No wonder I finally broke down in tears in the middle of Farmer Jack’s; the clerk had never heard of grits and was sure they didn’t carry them. Who were these cold-enduring people? Didn’t they know there was a warmer life elswhere?
Believe me, there are folks you know who are missing Alabama right now. It doesn’t matter whether they are thriving in a new location they love or they are saving nickels for a return via U-haul. They’re occasionally reminded of a balmy summer night or an amazing slice of pie and thinking fondly of their time here, perhaps especially during the holidays.
Send them a memento of home. Alabama Goods.com is a company run by two Birmingham Moms that markets Alabama-made pottery, decorative arts, foodstuffs, and even furniture. Much of their business is in corporate gifts, but they have all sorts of items for individuals. Some of my favorites are the Birmingham necklace, Alabama Platter, and the state-shaped cutting board.
As for my time in Detroit, a gift like one of these wouldn’t have cured my homesickness, but it could have kept me mindful of the people who were thinking of me back home. Besides my mom sending grits, my boyfriend gave me the ultimate gift for a homesick girlfriend: an engagement ring and an invitation to come home.