I’ve been asked to share part two of “The Property”.
So here it is, pretty much unedited.
If you missed part one you can read it here – http://wp.me/p1Deai-wi
Let me know in the comments what you think.
After a long wait, they were able to move into this place.
The one they had loved at first sight.
The current occupants wanted their daughter to finish high school with her class, so they agreed to be nice and wait, never imagining what would come next.
The purchase agreement was signed, and the earnest money paid in September. The closing was not until May.
They did not consider how much they would ache for “being nice.”
During those long winter months, the occupants tried repeatedly to back out of the agreement.
The guide assured them that it would be a mistake to continue with their folly, as court case could be long and quite costly.
The attempts ceased, but the air was full to the edges with attitude, explaining well all of the buying and selling rules and agreements were broken.
To the ones who had fallen in love at first sight, each battle only enhanced their sense of ownership. They clung tight to the belief that the property would one day indeed be theirs and decided to ignore each rule broken. They would take ownership soon, and then, ever so politely, send them packing.
There is never a shortage of anxiety and activity on moving day.
This day was no different except for the fact that they had been decorating it and using its amazing open spaces only in their minds for close to nine months.
When the trucks finally arrived at their destination, which they did not pass, the air was thick with excitement and after pulling into the drive, a slight amount of sadness.
The previous owners had dug up many plantings, trees and such, leaving gaping holes in the yard. Two rusting automobiles sat in the entry to the “way-back”, which was uncharacteristically over grown.
When they went inside, they noted that all the curtains were gone. Where the appliances had been, the paint was in a definite outline around them, making the bathroom/laundry look all the more garish with its Kmart colored spectrum, and definitely took the wonder out of where the refrigerator was supposed to sit!
He and she had a brief conversation about all that was amiss, and decided that they were there, finally, so they wouldn’t fuss over all of those infringements.
It would be a new start. Their girls would be safe. Their adventures would be their own and not be held at the whims of a gang of pre-pubescent boys. Close to home, that is where they would stay. Safe and sound.
The scenery out of each one of the windows was salve enough to calm down any feelings of trespass.
She was quite sure that with all the space now at their disposal, they would never be able to fill it up. Unpacking began in earnest and she knew that this thought was most certainly true.
It didn’t take long for her to make a new home for all of their belongings. Though the house they left behind in town was filled to the breaking point, here there was actually unemployed space in each room. He and she both found this refreshing.
The girls had their rooms. Having their own space was so different than sharing a room and even a double sized bed. The ages of these girls was right for having personal space.
The youngest placed her things in the room that previously held masculine furniture, but no lace. She chose it because it actually had a door. The room at the top of the stairs would have required people to travel through her room to reach the others.
The eldest daughter chose the room to the right at the top of the stairs. There was no door here yet, but it was well off the beaten path, after all, hadn’t her parents almost missed it?
The front porch became a refuge with its long glider placed just so. It was a fine place for warming in the sun during the day or for cooling in the shade by evening. Many books were read there in view of miles and miles of fields and sky.
The cat even joined them there, tethered to the porch by a string. He had to be tethered because he had only previously been a house cat. When let outside, he promptly laid his fat belly out in the center of the road where the warm, smooth tar pack could warm his body. He had no concept of cars or danger. Once the trip to the country was over, he too fell in love with the property. He had freedoms here he had never had before, and four times as many windows to in which to lounge in the sun.
That first summer was a wonder. With ten acres of hills and trees to explore, there was no shortage of excursions into parts unknown. Each day held the imagination captive. Today you could be Lewis and Clark, tomorrow, an Indian and after that, a tree elf from one of Tolkien’s mythical forests.
They learned quickly to recognize the poison ivy, and to scrub well after coming in contact with it. They learned what a stinging nettle looked like, and felt the burn long after touching them. No amount of scrubbing would help; it simply had to wear off on its own. Daily they tried to figure out what on earth mosquitoes ate when they didn’t have their fresh blood to feed on. They also learned to check themselves thoroughly for ticks, once they returned from their forays in the woods.
He found it exhilarating to maintain the property; the house part, with the front yard, and the “way back” with the fire pit. He found out soon that without persistence, everything once pruned and nicely manicured, all would grow back with a vengeance; making his work seemingly for naught. He stuck with it though, and the property was maintained.
Along with the fall, came not only changes in the scenery, but changes with the daughters as well.
Moving to this place had been quite the change for both, now they faced another change with trepidation. They had lived in the middle of the city, and attended a private school. Now they were living in “Podunk” as one of them called it, they boarded a big yellow bus every morning to attend the public school in town. That big yellow bus made for some very long days for them both, as they were the second ones picked up in the morning and dropped off second to the last at the end of the day. Like their father before them, the most well behaved kids always got to ride the longest. The bus driver always finds out who they are very quickly.
He continued working at his job, exactly twenty eight miles away, and maintaining the property.
She got a part time retail job in town, and helped to maintain the property where she was able.
The girls kept riding the bus.
The rhythms of their lives were set.
4H projects brought more animals to the property. The list included canines, felines, equines and a couple of reptiles. Once there was even a bear cub, be it ever so briefly. At its peak, there were thirteen animals which called the property home. All had human names, so it sounded like a really full house.
The property had its share of uninvited guests as well. Each year brought a different one, or some years, they came in tandem. They were very glad that they did not all come all at once!
That first year had its share of snakes.
Not too long after they moved in, he thought it would be fun to show her what he had found in the basement. In his hand he carried a snake skin. This was not a problem since the snake was no longer living in it. The problem came when considering just exactly where the previous owner of that skin was now. He laid the skin across the counter, and it hung over each side. The counter itself measured a full forty eight inches.
On one amazing day, sometime later, one of the daughters was talking to her Grandmother, whose back was to the wall of cabinets in the kitchen. Suddenly and without warning, the daughter screamed and ran out of the room.
All who were in the room looked to see what the fuss was all about? Looking over where the Grandmother’s shoulder had been, there was a loose piece of trim. The trim was moving because a quite large snake had popped it’s head out, and obviously frightened by the sights and sounds it encountered, it retreated back behind the trim, a foot or so away. It just, kept, going and going. It was too long remove with a broom or rake or anything else.
Needless to say, the room emptied out, and sleep was a bit iffy until the memory this spectacle faded somewhat.
He and she both thought that they would prefer these types of adventures rather than the man-made kind.
As with every fall season, what’s outside, wants to come in. Mice. Spiders. Snakes. And for a couple of years, rats.
That first summer, it was box elder bugs. They came in red and black and constantly moving, sometimes flying, sometimes even biting, always annoying and smelly. They were everywhere, innumerable and multiplying fast. The kitchen floor literally required sweeping before coffee in the morning. Without this precautionary measure, she was certain that the crunchy, squishy sound would drive her mad!
Big old bull snakes, which we know from science class, feast on rodents. Why oh why couldn’t they feast on box elder bugs?
This living on the property was certainly not for wimps, or for people with arachnophobia.
She called them wolf spiders, since they were huge and furry. She found out that others called them that as well. She also found out that even with her fear of spiders, she could rightly kill them off with a hammer. When she bragged to him about her conquest, all she got was a stare.
Only she knew for sure just exactly what had been conquered here.
The rats? That was another story. They turned out to be Norwegian rats. Common when grains bins are being filled. Something, they never knew what, sent them into the property. Two years of telling the children they heard squirrels in the walls instead of rats, and two years of rat poison placed in the dirt basement and in the floor boards at the top of the stairs. Two years of them dying in the walls and the acrid smell of their decay filling the air. Mostly the smell was in one bedroom upstairs, the room with masculine furniture and no lace. The daughter living there had to sleep several nights in another room since the smell would burn her eyes and nose.
At one point, while he was at work, one of those rats was bold enough to come into the light of the kitchen. The noise from that room made her run in, only to find their white cat with the orange tipped ears and tail, holding it in a corner. They were the same size, but the fight seemed unequal, the cat might not win. The hissing was loud beyond belief and horrible.
She went to get a broom to beat the rat with and when she came back, it was gone. The children never knew about it until much later, but she sure didn’t sleep at all well that night.
After a time, the rats were finally conquered, the smell finally died away, and life returned to normal. This adventure came to an end, and no one but no one wanted to repeat it.
That first winter there was a delight to their eyes, if not to their pocket book. The cost of keeping a very old farm house warm was no small task as they found out soon enough. They did not mind, for they had fallen in love with it at first sight.
New fallen snow. A blanket of white. Clean.
Always beautiful to be sure, but here on the property, it was magnificent. Being in the way back during a time of snow was enchanting. When the thickness of snow cover lay undisturbed, the regular noise was muffled. The stillness was almost deafening. It put her in mind of Robert Frost’s poem;
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
Except that she didn’t have miles to go, she only had a few hundred feet.
With the large flakes drifting slowly from the sky, she could imagine herself inside of a snow globe. Graceful, peaceful, safe, warm, clean, calm. That is what it felt like inside this globe. She was not at all sure she had ever felt quite this way before.
When the snow stopped and the wind began, you could hear the wind howling, and in certain places in the house, even feel it. These things did not seem to matter as long as they were all here together. This is how home is supposed to feel.
Look for part three in the near future.
Remember – You are fearfully and wonderfully made.