Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Finding Charm

There's an old farm house across the street.

It's been a rental since I've lived here, and probably a few years before that. A small two-story house, its front porch doesn't quite stretch the full length of its, well, front. Looks like somebody ran out of material and couldn't make the wrap-around fit. Recently, the farmer who owns the property added white siding to cover the peeling-painted wood exterior. There are no curtains on the windows. Nobody stays that long, I suppose. The old front door has seen better days.

A dirt driveway ends at a dilapidated detached garage that sits catty-wampus from the back corner. And usually, whoever is renting the place, chains their barking dog in the garage. Sometimes a torn couch rests on the porch. When the renters move out, it does too. We see it sitting by the road hitching a ride with the trash man.

The property is adjacent to a cow pasture. The tenants seldom mow. But when they do, they ignore the ditch. This creates a three-foot barrier of switchgrass edging the property. The most recent renter keeps a white duck in the front yard. I can't tell if it's a pet or not. Mike's mom thinks they're raising it for dinner. Who knows? We're sure its bound to be road-kill before it ends up in their oven.

I've sat on my front porch and gazed across the road many times to the old farm house, wondering who built it and how long it's graced the neighborhood. I've tried to count the number of families who have moved in and out the six years I've lived in my house. Often, we've watched police cars roll into the driveway. Usually a twice-a-year occurence. On one occasion, they evicted an abusive, drunk boyfriend. Nothing like watching a live episode of COPS in your own front yard.

Boy, if walls could talk oh the stories they could tell, huh?

And yet, for all its red-neck exterior, there's a certain charm to the place. Two mammoth rose bushes sit near the road. They're old with dark red roses. Rich-looking and very Victorian, the bushes have probably adorned the property as long as the house has been sitting there. A brooch on a tattered cotton dress.

Every once in a while a renter will place a pot of flowers on the porch. And from a distance ... it could be my grandma's house.

It's hard to find the silk purse in the sow's ear ... find charm in the midst of chaos. But it's like that with anything in life. Although many times I don't understand why I can't change my circumstances, I have to look at the positive to survive. We were never promised rose gardens, but it's a sweet thing when we find them growing in the middle of our weedy, dilapidated lives.

Isn't it?

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

Dena said...


This is BEAUTIFULLY written. The line about the sagging couch waiting to hitch a ride with the trash man is pure gold. You SAVE this entry and use parts of it in a later book.

My, my... someone is just bursting with talent.