Saturday, July 2, 2011


I think it's probably a carry over from my youth, when we occasionally worked on rent houses. Cleaning, painting, roofing, shampooing carpet--turning something foul-smelling, grubby and abandoned into a brave, little humble home that was livable. Anyway, whenever I see neglected houses, I repair them in my mind...and if  I get the chance to walk through a house, I automatically imagine it clean, painted, and freshly carpeted. Here's one I noticed on my walk this morning:

The roof's in terrible shape, and it needs a front porch, but I found myself wanting to paint it all white and yellow, mow the grass, and put it in shape. There it sits at the edge of a huge lot--half a block of lawn with a massive tree in the center--a tree with low-hanging branches just right for climbing.

There's a lot of these little houses in our town...because small towns are becoming smaller and dying away. It's sad. The prime time properties around the courthouse square sit empty. They don't cost much, but there's a hitch: businesses can't make enough money to survive. There are no customers. Everybody rushes to the city to shop at huge stores, spending lots of money on gas, yet thinking they've found great bargains. 

Here's a gorgeous building right on the square, all painted and ready for someone to rent. In my mind I've turned it into all sorts of shops--music shops, clay shops, a place for lessons and consultations, even an apartment.
If you walk behind the large buildings on the square, there's another surprise waiting. Just look at this private courtyard waiting to happen. If you built a couple of high fences, there'd be a lovely little hidden garden, right behind the store. If the old rooms on the second floor were restored and turned into an apartment, someone could live above the business. I've been in some of these buildings. The old wooden staircases lead to wainscoting and half glass doors--a set of rooms and offices right out of the forties. With a little modernizing, you could be in retro style without trying. Sigh.

I'd put in new windows...just as large as they ever were and a lot more energy efficient. Then I'd rake this yard and get rid of all the trash...put in a fountain--just a little one against the wall-- and a cement bench or two.  If you walked by the front of my building you wouldn't know it from the rest--the line of bustling shops so uniform in their stolid facades. I'd probably be sitting out in the garden reading a book...or painting something.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Odd little things about a Small Town

There's that tiny post office, squished between town hall and the Sunshine Cafe. Only it's not really a post office. It's just another dining area for the cafe. So why does it say Post Office? Well, several years ago they filmed a movie in this town and made a lot of changes so that we would fit their decor and specifications. We thought they'd put everything back like they found it...but nope. They finished filming, pulled up all their "road blocked" signs and rushed back to Hollywood. Now our courthouse steps are the wrong color...and occasionally a person passing through town tries to mail a letter at the Sunshine Cafe.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Wonderful Celebration

Yesterday we celebrated my parents' sixtieth wedding anniversary. It was a very special event, an event that is becoming increasingly rare within our society, a precious example of commitment and faithfulness, of promises made and kept sacred. We, the six children, were all there, gathered together to affirm something about our parents--their love for each other, their example to us, and the teachings they instilled in each of us. Marriage is for keeps. It's not about whether a person perfectly meets your every need. It's about promises. It's about real love. Love that endures through bliss and pain...through daily drudgery as well as through excitement and joy.    Marriage is about families, accepting each other's family and becoming responsible for them as well, about children and the years and years of loving them and sacrificing for them. It's about encouraging each other in gifts and callings, in faith and good works, about learning to read each other so well you speak sometimes without saying a word. It's about an intimate friendship.


Here's three brothers and three sisters-in-law, remembering
events from three weddings over half a century ago.

Aunts and cousins, so many people who now look like their mothers and fathers did only yesterday, I think.
And pictures of grandchildren and great-grandchildren; inevitably,  someone's eyes are closed.
My brother and his wife, a love story unique and worth the telling. Someday, I'll try.

Fancy tables with flowers and lights and cake.

Friends from church and from past ministry,

Family pictures, once again.

Mom, Dad, this was a wonderful day!

We, your children, would like to say that, though by some people's standards we may have been considered deprived as we all grew up together, we were never poor. You gave us all you had, showed us right paths, taught us wisdom and truth. You introduced us to the One who lives beyond age, beyond death and who gives eternal life.
 We never felt unloved.