The early morning light was just peeking over the trees as I sat down at the table on the back deck and watched the ripples streaming south down our little creek, across the rocks, and quickly disappearing into the distance.
The breeze was blowing as my mind turned to thoughts of leaving. In a world full of contingencies, we signed the documents. It was final. We sold our property, and my wife Brenda and I are leaving the house that has been our home for the last 15 years.
Those who have sold a home know the feeling. Leaving is never an easy thing to do, although we know it’s time to go.
Over time, the joy of mowing two acres of grass lost its luster. The tasks we had routinely taken on around the house had become less welcome.
As I sat on the deck and mused about the memories we created there over time, the more bittersweet and melancholy my thoughts became, and in all honesty, it tugged at my heartstrings.
The memories we made here, laugh by laugh, and occasional sadness thrown in for good measure, make it difficult to leave this place. We are leaving the bricks and mortar, but the remembrances and people stay with us forever.
Brenda meticulously decorated our entire home and matched the furniture and fixtures to our personalities. She patiently accepted the red carpeting I chose for the movie room, and the stylish decorations she preferred were in perfect contrast to my less than fashionable tastes.
She brought each room to life to embody the personae of ourselves and our family.
Friends and family always felt welcome here. They visited often. We grilled out, relaxed by the creek, threw baseball, sang karaoke, and spent special Christmas mornings opening presents. We enjoyed a catered picnic, and as the rains came, we headed into the garage to listen to the bluegrass band we had hired for the celebration.
Why are we saddened to leave this home? It isn’t the structure. Although it is a lovely home, it’s the loss of the place that holds our memories. We’ve laughed at so many wonderful experiences, but the sadness arrived, too, when we lost several of our cherished family members. All left us in an all-too-brief period.
We never expected there would come a day when all those loving brothers, sisters, parents and friends who had assembled in our home, visiting on Thanksgiving or picnicking in the summer under the trees, would be gone.
“Like cats around a saucer of cream, we were happy to sit here and dream,” as the song says. The genuine sadness comes in life when you realize that you’re losing the people who knew you when you were young.
Our grandson, Jack, who is now 16 and talking about going to college, was only 1 year old when he first visited our home. This place is the only home he knew, away from Lexington.
Jack loved to ride the John Deere tractor, and I used to hold him on my lap as I steered the tractor for hours with the blades off. It wasn’t long before he grew and the distance where he sat, between my belly and the steering wheel, seemed to shrink. As time passed, he started the tractor by himself, and soon was driving the green tractor all over the lawn alone.
Over the years, Jack and his dad, Greg, have spent hours shooting BBs into the creek behind the house until it turned dark, and then we’d fire-up the fire pit and sing or tell familiar stories until it got late.
It’s not exactly a man’s cave, but our external garage became home to my self-constructed sound system that has given me hours of pleasure and relaxation.
Yet we know the last tune is coming.
Those are the times we will miss. But we remember that we will leave the property behind, not the cherished times and memories. We are moving to town and a new place to hold them.
Hal Borland, a writer and journalist who lived in a century-old, mountain-edge farm a couple of miles south of Bartholomew’s Cobble, said, “Each new season grows from the leftovers from the past. That is the essence of change, and change is the basic law.”
And change is coming again.
Pat Haley is a Clinton County native and former county commissioner and sheriff.