Have you ever had the uncomfortable dilemma of eating your words?
Happens to me all the time. Like the house we live in now -- the evening
we first looked at it was cool and rainy. It was dusk when we arrived
and soon turned dark. The couple who lived in the house were frugal folks.
They had raised 14 children and proudly showed us a display of graduation
pictures. Every room was outfitted with 40 watt bulbs. Mrs. M showed me
every room and closet. Do you know what it is like going from room to room
in a sparsely furnished house with 40 watt bulbs shining feebly in the center
of each ceiling? It was dull and grim and cold and clammy, too.
Rain dripped outside and it was dark.
They thought such a small family as ours
(one child with a second one on the way)
would rattle around in this huge house.
(It is a ranch style - 20' by 46' - with a full basement.)
When I settled back in my car seat and closed the car door I said,
"I hope I never see that house again." And the rest is history.
The gears were set in motion. One and a half years later we moved
into that very same house.
Let me back up. Ellis and I moved to southern MN from eastern MT.
We lived near Blooming Prairie. Ellis worked at a hog unit near
Clarks Grove. He soon got tired of the road back and forth to work
and set about finding a new route. The saying, "All roads lead to Rome,"
certainly applies to southern MN. There are many different ways to get
from rural Blooming Prairie to Clarks Grove. You don't even have to go
out of your way. Ellis was looking for a place to buy that
would remind him of eastern MT. Kind of rolling grass land . . .
He grew up on the edge of the state where there are no mountains.
It could be marginal land since we weren't going to plant wheat or corn
or soy beans.
That's how he found this place, driving along every gravel road
between work and home.
Hills dotted with old oak trees.
Rolling plains around it in the CRP program.
Some pasture land -
lots of room for a garden. A teensy tiny house and some decrepit out
buildings like an ancient falling down barn and another equally old
chicken house. Old red sheds. An old scary looking garage built into
the side of a hill with slanting roof. Our boys could easily climb on
the lowest edge of the roof and then run pell mell up to the top of the
roof and fall down.
It was for sale. It was closer to Clarks Grove. We called and made an
appointment to stop in and visit Mr. and Mrs. M They had it listed with a
realtor but they were soon going to take it off the market. They
suggested we come back then and we could make a deal, like maybe a
contract for deed or something. Oh, and it was forty acres which was
more than we could bite off.
But you remember I said those fateful words. I think Ellis put it on the
back burner. I couldn't read his mind. I went happily on my way. Our
second son was born the fall of 1987. We heard with a bit of sadness
that Mr. M had died. and there was going to be a sale. We actually went
to the sale and wandered around looking at the forlorn place. Wishing
things could have been different. Wishing we could have made some sort
of arrangements, but I was breathing a sigh of great relief at the same time.
We had a lovely time that winter with two wonderful boys. In the spring
Ellis was moved to a different barn . . . close to Albert Lea. A house
was provided with this job. So we didn't need a house just then.
We packed up and moved to Albert Lea. But that job lasted one summer
and we were back looking for houses again. Ellis found a description of this
place in the paper. It sounded like the exact place we looked at only now it
was 15 acres. The guy who bought it wanted to farm the land and sell the
building site with the hills and oak trees. We have been glad many times
over for this small corner of God's great earth that we call home.
I've been trying to delete the word never from my vocabulary ever since . . .