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Agent009's picture
on October 11, 2010 - 9:31am

We're there.
I didn't realize we were there until I got an email this morning.
But, we're there and I knew it was coming. While I accept it, it's going to take a bit of time for me to process. I'm going to allow myself the indulgence of being sad just for a little while (and sad is not something I let in very often).

My granny is 86 and she has always been a force to be reckoned with, but in a subtle, classy, dignified way that can only be described as quietly awe-inspiring. My admiration and respect for her are immeasurable. When my grandfather passed a few years ago, she debated about keeping her house in the country, but in the end, she decided she wasn't really ready to move. So she stayed. She still places her tiny frame behind the wheel of that big white explorer and tools around town.

But the time has come that she feels keeping her driver's license might be a bit irresponsible. So, when her February birthday arrives, she has no plans to renew it. Couple that with an assortment of repairs needed on the house AND a distant family member interested in buying it. The stars have aligned. It's time.

That house is so much more than a house, and I'm a mess with sentiment, overcome with nostalgia. It's just a house with a basement and three bedrooms and a two car garage. It's just a house with an enormous yard and flowerbed and gardens and a myriad of trees.I keep telling myself that, but I can't quite believe it.

It's not just a house to me. It's a million memories wrapped up in a structure and landscaping. It's the tree swing that my grandfather built and giddily tested before he let the great-grandkids take a turn. It's the old sofa by the fireplace where I had my first kiss. It's sweaty summer afternoons where we picked blackberries in the gully out back. It's the stone steps my grandfather carved into that trench. It's running through sprinklers and chasing lightning bugs at dusk. It's gazing up at the night sky and letting the wind wash over me.

It's the gigantic blue spruces in the front yard that my grandfather transplanted as seedlings from the Colorado Rockies. It's raking leaves and leaping into the pile. It's the giant hill that we used for sledding on the snowy days....and a thousand snowball fights, an army of snowmen, a choir of snowangels that were created in that yard. It's fifty varieties of flowers, including the lilacs (that I can still smell), daffodils and tulips of spring, the roses, irises and lilies of summer, and the mums of fall (and the burning bush and the crunching leaves). It's the enormous Christmas cactus in the dining room window. It's knowing how the sunlight feels at any time of day in every room in each season.

It's a kitchen drawer filled with gum and candies. It's the smell of baked apples and roasted turkey. It's the sound of an electric knife slicing through the Easter ham. It's the coloring of boiled eggs and the hiding and the finding of them. It's warm sun-ripened tomatoes from the vegetable garden and roasted corn on the cob and grandmother's perfect peach pie. It's where I stirred countless cake batters and sliced dozens of watermelons. It's where I learned to make fudge.

It's the hub of the family. It's a 'banquet hall' where our immediate clan feasted every Friday night for twenty years. It's Thanksgiving day with fifty relatives and enough food to feed them all for a noon and evening meal with leftovers to go. It's where everyone gathered around football on the tv or playing football in the backyard. It's the annual fish fry. It's the laughter of sly jokes and silly banter and catching Uncle Dan cheating at cards. It's rainy afternoons of getting beaten at Boggle and winning at Euchre. It's laying on that sofa and sharing many conversations....serious and silly....every depth imaginable on any topic one could ever dream up (and some better left un-dreamt!).

It's racecars and fishing boats in the garage and the inevitable repairs that go with them and the smell of motor oil.

It's the place where even cousins who weren't really cousins could come and feel at ease.

It's Christmas Eve with perfect snow blanketing the twinkling lights and luminaries. It's Christmas Day with mountains of presents and an inevitable wrapping-paper battle and the scent of pine and 'pictures of people taking pictures'.It's the sound of Nat "King" Cole's "Christmas Song" from the hi-fi in a warmly lit room.

It's warmth. It's the smell of the fire in the hearth and the sound of wood being split to make that fire. It's refuge from the cold and a place to thaw out soggy mittens.

It's home away from home. There's always been a sturdy bed on which to crash and a favorite drink in the refrigerator. It's a housekey.....I've had a key to that house for as long as I can remember. But now, it's time to turn in my key.

It's the end of an era. Well, actually, the era probably ended some time ago. But none of us were really ready to let go of it. The lights that twinkled have been dimmed for a few years. It's time. I don't want it to be time. I want to wrap that house in a bubble and put it on a shelf and look at it forever. But that's not realistic, and I must accept the harshness of that reality.

So now we move forward.....but there will always be times that I look back with misty-eyed recollections.

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