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They say “home is where the heart is.”

What is “home” exactly?

It can’t be the place you live or lived, because I’m pretty sure if I tried to go to my childhood home, I’d get arrested for breaking and entering because my family moved out when I was 18.

I think the phrase has more to do with comfort.

I’ve been thinking about comfort a lot lately, as my on-again, off-again health issues have been kicking me around lately. I’ve missed work and this column and a lot of the things I like to usually do. So, I’ve been looking for a lot of comfort wherever I can find it.

Food is a big contributor to some of the issues I’ve been having, so a pint of cookie dough ice cream washed down with a stuffed crust frozen pizza just isn’t an option anymore for comfort.

Interestingly enough, most times I’ve found myself in a bar, but not in the way you might be thinking — a fictional one. The television show “Cheers” is available on several different digital platforms, and times when I get laid up I found myself just naturally streaming episode after episode. I’ll jump from the Diane era to the Rebecca era, and watch in no particular order.

I’m an overthinker, so I started to wonder why this show was such a “go to” in my life when I’m in the need for some comfort. I mean, sure, it’s an Emmy award-winning show, brilliantly written and the characters are funny, witty and “Cheers” seems like the kind of place someone would want to hang.

As I started to think about when I was first introduced to “Cheers,” I realized that this show always seemed to pop up in my life at various milestones and moments in my life.

When I was a kid, my bedtime always fell before the show aired on TV when it was in its original one. However, it was also the one show that my dad would let me stay up to watch with him. He’s from the East Coast, and was a big fan of both Boston and comedy. I felt like such a grown-up staying up late watching a TV show that took place in a bar, and one that wasn’t a cartoon for that matter.

Later in life, after I had graduated high school, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and my dad had to work out of town. So, I opted not to work or go to college to stay home to help take care of her. A lot of our evenings were spent with me sitting next to her bed watching blocks of “Cheers” re-runs on the TV Land network. Those quiet moments in between laughing are some of the best memories from that hard time before she passed.

This comfort of “Cheers” must have stuck with me over the years, because years later, my dad was also diagnosed with cancer. He’s had three separate bouts with throat cancer and many surgeries, and I’m happy to say he’s beaten cancers behind every time and he’s living happily with his wife in Maine. However, in the beginning, it was a rough experience — to the point where he had to live in a physical rehab facility in Vancouver, Washington, for six months. I remember visiting him when he first got there and I saw that he shared a room, and it was a room without a television. I remember immediately driving into Portland, Oregon, to buy a portable mini television-DVD player combination set, as well as the first season of “Cheers” on DVD for my dad to watch. He was very thankful, and it was certainly a source of comfort if not distraction during that time.

They say home is where the heart is, and while home may not have to be a physical place, it can definitely be a place of comfort … and one where everybody knows your name.

Brian S. Millett is a project manager for the city of Eureka, and can be reached at bmillett@ci.eureka.ca.gov (with two t’s).

 

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