For the Love of a Dog

There are but a few swiftly waning hours left of my summer.  Hence, I have cleaned out every closet and cabinet in the little house on Bonnet Street.  I have also been jumping at every command the bank issues-not” my cup of tea”, I told the loan officer., the other day. I have unpacked boxes, whose fate remained uncertain, until recently. 
I start school this week.
  Now the first signs of a garden are evident, in the back yard.  Phlox, pinks and russian sage  have settled in nicely, just like the peach tree.  Brant gave me two Indian Hawthorns- They are the beginning of the “living fence” that I hope to create.  A young butterfly bush is blooming under an old bird house . . .and there are birdbaths.  My grandfathers’ old wagon wheels are propped  against an oak tree. Tea Olives, Holly, Cape Jessamine, roses and such things dance in my head like sugarplums- Oh, the heart of a gardener is full of hope! 
Last weekend, we gathered in Raleigh.  Brant and Sydney were quite the host and hostess.  Sydney made a cake, that was one of the best, I have ever eaten,  When I get the right flour, I will attempt it myself.  Brant made a small fire one night for smores.  Lyla, especially loved that.   My sons watched sports together and my daughters chatted.  The “brother and sister cousins” frolicked about.  Nobody wanted it to end, in fact Brynn declared she was staying! 
I doubt there is little else with the same degree of satisfaction, as that derived from a loving family.  All other accomplishments pale in comparison. I see my children raising their own with tenderness and thoughtfulness and my heart floods with joy.  Another thing, is that they know their children deeply and thoroughly.  I watch Tres being the kind of uncle, every child wants.  The scene is like watching a poem, to me. . . even when the grandchildren are naughty! 
I realised on my drive home, that at last, the place does feel like home.   . .and I felt glad about it. 
A house does not become a home in a flash.  At first, it is a place to keep your things, like a huge closet-It is also a place to sleep and a shelter, all admirable and traits to desire.   But a home, is more than a structure.  It is a place in your journey, where someone has a birthday.  It has the back door for  our loved ones.  It smells like supper cooking.  When you know  which window the sun shines in-and when and know personally, where the sparrow builds a nest . . . then you are home. 
I suppose for me, it also means hours playing in the dirt and welcoming the young flowers to their new home.  I have had conversations with the oaks, too.  I know where the boxer likes to rest . . and there are the chiming church bells.   
To think, that less than a year ago, I was picking up curtains and clothes out of the yard, seems unreal.  I knew then that the place was surely unlovable and very temporary.  It was the only rental in this small town that allowed a dog, no matter how much money one had.  So, for the love of a dog, I had taken it.  I did not want to rent either.  I cleaned it and tolerated it.  I went on a quest trying to get out of it . . That was a short lived affair.  I remember feeling trapped.  I mourned for the old farmhouse and the countryside.  . . some days, worse than others. 
I was glad to have a home and that the neighborhood was quiet.  I reminded myself that at least there were old trees.  Nothing convinced me that I could love the place, though.    I felt ashamed that I was ungrateful. When  the deal was struck with the landlords it felt safe to plant the potted friends, from Farm Life.  I felt inclined to buy my beloved pinks . . .and then I dove head long and started a garden.   So far, so good, with all the business that goes along buying a home.  Things can change at any given moment, but I will remember that under the old oak, covered in dirt, I fell in love with the rosewood cottage . .  on a rabbitpatch .   . . for today . . .that is enough.

“Out of the Blue”

The sultry days of August are upon us.  Every day is as hot as the day before-and the one to come next.  Sometimes, a shower pops up and I celebrate every one of them. When the showers leave, mist forms and quiets the  wilting landscape, for a while.  Despite the awful conditions, I have been scurrying the last few weeks. 
Mama and I visited Aunt Christine again and got to see her grandchildren and a great grandchild as well.  It was another lovely time. 
Brant and Sydney came for the weekend. I made tarts for the occasion and Sydney baked a cake. Brant worked the whole time and the visit with little Ryan and Sydney, was too brief to suit me, for I can never see them too much. Still, I was glad to have the visit. 
The next day, Sister Delores and niece Dana came.  Niece Hayley was being honored with a bridal shower.  Mama and I ,  Delores and Dana attended that on Sunday.   The affair was at a delightful cottage like home, that was nestled in a grove of old trees on a country road.  The ladies were all friendly-and so we all enjoyed ourselves.
I left afterwards for Elizabeth City. 
 I was there four wonderful days.  It was just too hot to walk by “the laughing river”. . .so,  I told extra stories about dolls who drank strawberry tea with a talking kitten.  It was a golden time, altogether.  In a week we will all gather in Raleigh for a weekend gathering.  I suppose this will be the grand finale of our summer, as in a few very short weeks we return to schedules and days measured by the almighty clock.   Mama and I got in  another visit with Aunt Christine and Uncle Gene.  This time I was so happy to see my cousin, Gena as well.  Gena was the first “living doll” in my life.  She is younger than me and I used to love the afternoon visits in the yesteryears, at Pop  and Grandmamas’, when she would follow us around the yard.  She wore pristine dresses and had curls peeking out from under hats.There was never one iota of unkindness in her . . . .and that is still true, today.
Something has come up, which I could not have predicted.  Regular reader know, that I prefer fields and woods to streets-and moon shine to street lights.  I have certainly always said so.  While, that remains true, “something out of the blue”  came up. . .I am in the process of buying the little house on Bonnet Street.  It happened this way .   . . 
The landlords offered me a deal, that would have been foolish to decline, even if I am a devoted fan of rural living.  This is one of the reasons, that I have been scurrying about, for there is a lot of business to tend to.  I of all people, know first-hand, that anything can go wrong in the process . . .still, I planted a peach tree.  I have planted pinks and phlox, as well-and said a prayer as I did so.  As I worked and dreamed, my heart softened til at last, I knew that I was in the right place, at this particular time.
The little house on Bonnet street is older than I am-of course, I love an old house.  I must confess that I have entertained a few notions about some improvements, I may attempt. A small pantry, moving the laundry  OUT OF THE KITCHEN.  That has been a thorn “in the side of the house” .  As far as I am concerned, it is an unnatural thing to wash clothes in the same room, that I bake my bread in.   A little clothes line would suit me, too. . . .and roses.  I know it may all come to nothing-but I like letting my imagination “run wild” on occasion.  It was imagination that made the first rabbitpatch, after all.  It was not a garden, when I got there.    . . and I have already planted a peach tree. 
Now, tomorrow an official appraiser comes. I know full well, that he is not interested in my housekeeping, nor the fact that my flowers are blooming their hearts out .   He could care less about the lovely second-handle table, that is freshly painted and affectionately named  the “Scott”, after the cousin that I got it from. . . .I also know that there isn’t a bit of harm in a  good presentation.  Besides that,  I love a tidy house, myself. 
I can declare with all certainty, that I can not predict the future,  but  . . . time will tell, as it always does.