Sometimes I look back on my life and think how odd parts of it seem upon reflection.
I've never lived in an apartment, but I've lived in Alaska. In the winter.
I've lived in a log cabin in the woods. With a creek running through our yard.
And the best place I've ever lived was this old house.
My dad was transferred to a post office in the Texas Hill Country when I was about 17. My family would go house-hunting on the weekends and we'd usually end up passing this house while we were out and about. I would always jokingly (and longingly) say to my parents "THAT's the house I want to live in!" It was so beautiful sitting up there on the hill. Back then it was yellow, with a white porch and shutters. There was a nice red barn at the far edge of the yard. I think for me it symbolized tranquility, stability, simplicity...all things I was craving at that point in my life. Of course we would all laugh at the idea that somehow we'd be able to live in that amazing old farmhouse on the top of the hill.
One day, my dad came home from work and said he had some exciting news. A man had come into his office that day and said he heard we were looking for a place to live. "Yes, that's true," my dad said. "Well I have an old house you might be interested in. It's nothing special. It's kinda lonely, but you can have it if you want it," the man said. "What are you asking for it?" my dad wondered. "Can't sell it, but I could rent it to you for $500 a month," the man replied.
Needless to say, my dad immediately concluded this house was going to be a dump. But he told the man he'd like to take a look at it and see if it would work. Much to his surprise, the man took him to that beautiful yellow house on the hill. My dad took one look inside and told him we'd take it.
The first time I walked into that house, my jaw dropped. The living room was at least 30 feet long, with a huge picture window at the end overlooking the gentle hills in the valley. There was a fireplace on one side, easily big enough for two grown people to actually sit inside. There was a sunroom with black and white tiled floors and french doors opening onto the back deck. The guest bath had a giant clawfoot tub and beautiful brass fixtures. The house was built in the late 1800s and still had the original wood floors, walls and ceilings. The house was so big it had three air conditioning units to cool it.
I was in love.
I have many memories of that house...my two best friends spending weekends with me, exploring the fields and climbing around in the barn...my family sitting on the back deck watching the chickens peck in the yard...driving my car up the dusty lane through a herd of stubborn cows...standing outside on a frosty Christmas Eve looking in at all my family sitting around the fireplace while the lights on the Christmas tree twinkle through the glass...that house made me feel like I was living inside a Hallmark card.
I went back a few weeks ago. The house is still there. As you can see in the picture, it's no longer yellow. And the new owners have changed some of the exterior details...probably the inside has changed too. But they can never change my memories.