Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Big House: A Walk Down Memory Lane

This weekend my parents are away at the Christian Heritage Conference. It falls to Ben and I to check in and make sure everything is running smoothly at the old homestead. 

I love coming here. There are memories everywhere, and I can take a bit of personal pride in the property. When my family moved here in 2007 this beautiful 2.5 acre plot was buried under heaps of garbage, old vehicles, RVs and various sheds built out of scraps to hide more scraps. Instead of this lovely home, we lived in a single wide trailer. I don't have any photos of that, because it was recently smashed with glee by Dad's backhoe while the whole family cheered.

Today when we drove up to the house, we were greeted by two German Shepherds and a lawn full of grass. The beautiful home is missing only a coat of paint, and the landscaping is well on it's way to completion. Raised garden beds hold teeny green sprouts and a swooping gravel driveway is ready and waiting for the black iron gate we all talked about for so long. Everything has come a long way.

The corner of this old and dangerous A-frame sat where the fancy breakfast nook is now. This thing was absolutely packed full of horribly useless stuff. Emptying it by the wheelbarrow load was a grim business, punctuated by dubious exclamations of, "Why would you save this?!" and a lot of head shaking.

I believe there were 7 completely broken down cars sunk into various corners of the property. Getting rid of those was Dad's job, but Mom and us kids got to clear away the old carpet and roofing that was buried with them. Which is miserable. Just take my word for it. 

Once, when mom and I took a break to despair over how deep one of the piles of disintegrated rubble went, we heard a buzzing coming from an old carpet we had tossed onto the hood of this red truck. Mom has serious reactions to stings, so I suited up head to toe, and stood ready with a bottle of the most poisonous looking concoction I could find in the hazardous substances pile. She yanked the carpet aside and dove for cover while I shrieked and viciously attacked the one poor bee that flew lazily away. I'm seriously glad the hive we were sure we'd find wasn't there. 

That's me! We had a tiny dirtbike track which has expanded by now. You can see a pile of tires...there were millions of them. No. Joke. I remember sweaty afternoons spent digging up layers of rimless tires and rolling them down the big hill to our tire stash. We all grew very strong. When the last dump load was hauled away, we had a party. A big one. For weeks after you could hear little ones playing with their toys and mentioning conversationally to their friends that we had finally finished 'The Tire Job'. Since not to many 6 year olds can brag that they'd spent three years doing physical, adult sized labor, we got lot of blank stares.

Dad built our house with his very own hands. Since it was basically going up in our front yard, and we were involved from the point of breaking ground, the 'Big House' became an ever evolving playground. The foundation was a dungeon, the roof a stronghold and secret spy lair. We hung ropes and swings from the rafters of the enormous attic and camped out with our flashlights and BB guns (just in case). Once the roof was on, there was no kind of weather that could have prevented mom from sending us outside to play.

Consequently, I love the outdoors year round.

Little miss Erin is having a difficult time adjusting to nature, however. 

She is okay being held while we are outside, but touch her feet to the ground and that child has some lighting quick reflexes. All of which indicate no. She will not sit in that grass. Those rocks will not dirty her pretty white shoes. And above all, her hands shall not touch the dirt. 

We are working on this. :)

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