Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The House We Didn't Buy (Whew, That Was a Close One......)

As you leave I -215 Eastbound and turn onto I-15 Southbound and buzzing along at 60 mph or so, you think you are on the Interstate, but actually you are not.  You are on sort of a pre-Interstate, and if you aren't careful you will be in the left hand lane, and find that you are exiting onto the Veteran's Memorial Highway, and will be dumped off at 7200 S.

Many highways have similar little traps - poor signs, missing signs, or maybe you just aren't paying attention at a critical moment and before you know it, you are headed down the wrong road.  Mostly it isn't too hard to get back on track, but occasionally the new road will wind for miles before there is an exit, and backing up just isn't an option.  It generally isn't considered wise to stop and turn around and drive against the traffic either.

Life is a little like that....you are buzzing along, and you see a sign, and you think: Hmmmm..... never been there before......that sounds like fun, and you click your signal and take the detour.

In 'The Magician's Nephew' (C.S. Lewis), Polly and Digory find themselves magically transported to another world.  There is a table in front of them, and many richly dressed people frozen into statues.  At the end of the table there is a little bell, and a sign on a pillar that read:

Make your choice Adventurous Stranger, strike the bell and bide the danger,  or wonder till it drives you mad, what would have followed if you had.
 Our neighbor's spirit is stronger than his body, and several months ago he left his home to live where he could receive more care. So now that house is empty - no neighbor wondering what we are up to and  sweeping our dark yard with a five million candle power flashlight (The Cyclops - seriously - the light itself is about 10" in diameter), just a quiet, dark house.  And so we wondered what would happen to the old house with the big trees and the the big garden, growing up in weeds instead of squash and tomatoes.  I thought about it a good deal, and frankly coveted the garden and the water shares that came with it.

Our neighbor is an interesting guy, he has been the local refrigeration expert in Sweet Haven for quite a few years.  He could fix any appliance, and even after his sight failed him, people would drive for hours (over 100 miles one-way)  to take him back to their farm or ranch and fix the ailing machine.  They would wield the tools, and Harding would guide them...."Follow those wires down, down, they go through a little grommet and you have to get to the other side of that.....that's right.  Now check the connector.....is it in tight?  Do any of the wires seem loose?  Are any pinched.....ahhh, the red one.  OK, now..........." and in a while the recalcitrant machine would be vanquished and they would drive him back home.

Harding served an LDS mission when he was a young man - without purse or scrip as the saying goes.  He had no funds, and depended on the kindness of strangers for his bread and bed while he roamed the wilds of New England and taught the Gospel to anyone who would listen.  In his youth, before WalMart and Cabela's he was a Boy Scout.  Back then you had to make your own gear and he did.  He made a bedroll out of canvas and blankets, and he sewed his own tent.  AND then he water-proofed it.  Water-proofed it with paraffin dissolved into hot gasoline and painted onto the canvas. That must have been a day.  There must not have been any static electricity in the air that day, or the tent would have become a fireball.


We came near to buying the house.  The family did everything they could do to make the purchase easy and affordable for us, but in the end.....just as traffic was merging and we would have taken that different road, we changed lanes and continued our journey on the road we are familiar with.  We worried that it might become a rental, and that a bunch of Pit-Bull raising Hell's Angels would settle there and we would have nothing to say about it.  It looks like a very nice family that we are close to is going to buy it.  They have an active family, he is very handy and a good craftsman and they will make it a beautiful home full of active children.  So I think what happened was a family found the home they were looking for, and possibly the home found the family that it needed to repair and maintain it.

When we travel, I usually drive, and Annie navigates.  I'm grateful to her for listening to her heart and keeping us headed down the right road. It is so easy to get side-tracked.