The story of our little house is worthy of several blog entries. In fact, this may well be the first of many. There would be an entry about it’s age (103) and historical merits. There would be another about the number of times it’s been “remodeled” (3, maybe 4) and what that has entailed. Yet another entry, or maybe two, would offer accounts of the Crowson family (who I bought the place from in 1989) along with some sweet anecdotes of how they gave this home some of its special moxie. And those tales naturally, would chronologically navigate straight into stories of living, personal history: the last twenty years and now.
Yes. I have lived at this mailing address for twenty years. Good grief!
Twenty years tallies up to a whole bunch of “lotsa time” in one spot. For a nomad, military person, or perpetual adventure-seeker, I’m guessing this situation would be inconceivable and even uncomfortable. Yet I’m realizing that for me, twenty-mostly-happy-years in this particular dwelling equals deep tap roots, investment beyond dollar bills, memories tenfold and a solid foundation of joy.
Let’s get perfectly clear here. The events, people and experiences that have evolved at this locale may inspire some heartwarming yarns, but it ain’t no million dollar mansion on the hill with a view. This is not some movie version of the place you invite old friends from a college reunion to have cocktails by the pool. We have neighbors within arm’s length (that’s no exaggeration), so issues of privacy and sound are continual; we have bermuda grass in the front and puppy-induced potholes in the back; there are occasional vermin in the shed and piss ants near most of the faucets; ancient wavy window glass rattles in the living room when heavy trucks drive by; the doorways are drafty in the winter; the yard – like so many in the historic district – is roughly the size of a postage stamp; the plumbing in the kitchen (which is not 103, but a mere 70 years old) sends me S.O.S. signals regularly, and the upstairs toilet handle needs to be jiggled to make it stop running. This is NOT the perfect “retirement house,” “trophy house,” “artist’s retreat” or craftsman showcase. This dwelling has…character.
What it is, beneath the surface flaws, is a safe and gentle place to sit down and take a deep breath. There is life here – art on the walls, live music played every day, color everywhere (because it’s just paint, right?), a dining room table seasoned by amazing meals-company-laughter-wine-flowers in vases, honesty spoken in every room, passion that passes back and forth – like a summer’s breeze (and sometimes like a gale force!) from the front door to the back, a garden tended with care and courage, and plenty of clear creativity – spicy opinions – and simmering dreams. Most who come around here can feel the pull of joy in the walls, and those who abide within know the goodness of fit and gratitude of belonging.
It’s a good thing to say “thank you,” to whatever roof you find overhead. Even when it feels as though God may be conspiring to blow the top off of everything around us, it’s nice to realize the blessings of both literal and metaphorical shelter, invite those we love to join us within and share our hearts.