Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Little House On Stone Mountain Road

Yesterday we received news that a man who is very near and dear to our hearts was recently diagnosed with cancer. Bill texted me just as I was leaving for my walk after lunch, and through tears, I somehow managed to find my way back home. Kate told me this morning that she broke down in the middle of her dinner date last night. We are all in shock. We aren't sure of the prognosis, and we're praying for healing and hoping for the best, but news like this makes time stand still. Even at my age, there is a part of me that just wants things to remain as they always have. I am beginning to believe that God allows such things so that we will long for heaven, free from pain.

Last week my cousin had nominated me for a photo challenge on Facebook. 10 days, 10 photos, 10 nominations. Every day I shared an image that was meaningful to me without explanation and then nominated a friend to join me.

It's been a lot of fun, sifting through my pictures, choosing just the right photo, eight of them being pictures of my family. Yesterday I posted a picture of our favorite cabin at Babcock State Park in West Virginia, where we spent many autumn weekends when the girls were young. I had already planned to share the photograph that you see above, and then when I received the news of our friend's illness (he lived in this house as a young boy), it seemed even more fitting.

This time however, I broke the rules, because in light of the news and the sweet history the house holds, I felt it deserved more than just a picture. I wanted my friends and family to know how much this place meant to us, most importantly to our children. So, I'm sharing with you what I shared with them.

"I've known since I accepted this challenge that this picture would be included. And then yesterday I received news that makes posting it not only a desire, but necessary.

After a brief time in Danville, Bill was offered a job that would allow us to return to the Bedford/Lynchburg area and to our beloved mountains, and we jumped at the chance. Having lived in Bedford before, my only request was that we try to find a house that was a bit closer to Lynchburg, as all of our friends and many of the activities the girls were involved in were in that area, and Bill had agreed. But after a couple of weeks of searching, we weren't having any luck. 

We were sitting in the gardens at the Bedford library, when Bill first told me about a house that had come up, but the only problem was, it was in Moneta. Still, we were at the point where we needed to find something quickly, and out of options I reluctantly remember saying, "Well, it's worth a look."

And then it happened. From the first moment we caught a glimpse of it just over the little bridge that went across the rail road tracks, it felt like home. And then, when we went in and the girls discovered the little loft bedroom with a tiny half wall to give them each their own space but still allowed them to be together, and up and away from mom and dad!!!??? I think at that point if we had said no, they might have tried to negotiate a deal with another tenant. The fact that we were now even FURTHER away from "civilization" didn't really seem to matter anymore, I would just be strategic with my time when we went into town. 

Kate had just turned 7 the summer we moved in, and Jenna would be 12 the following November. We left just after Jenna graduated from high school. This, is the home of their childhood.

Where the milky way hung low over the sidewalk that led to the front door. Where daddy built a swing and hung it from a sturdy limb on the old oak tree. Where another beloved tree was struck by lightning and had to be taken down. Where we built fires, camped under the stars, roasted hot dogs, raised chickens, sold eggs, tilled a garden, but didn't do a very good job pulling those darn weeds! One year we had a couple of ducks, and two or three dogs and a number of cats. Cecily and Paisley being the most beloved of them all. Where we counted fireflies, walked through a magical world one winter when we measured 16 inches of snow, and where the end of the rainbow literally landed in our yard one day. That was the day that God let us know that He agreed, this place, was truly special! This is the house our first foster child came to live in one Thanksgiving eve, and where the last, the one we got to keep, lived until we moved away. Kate left a note for the new occupants when we left, and we all cried.

Kate recently said that her dream is that one day, after she is married and has children of her own, that she will drive up that road to discover that it is for rent, once again, so that she can give her children the magical childhood she remembers living there. I don't know if that will happen, or not. But I trust that no matter where she lives, it will be magical, just the same. Because no matter where life has taken us since the day we turned in the key, or wherever we go in the future, we will each carry a little piece of the little house on Stone Mountain Road with us.We didn't choose that little house, it chose us, and somehow, I think it remembers us, too, and always will."

It is my prayer, that whoever occupies this house in the future will love it and care for it as we did. I think it might rip my heart right out if I were to drive by one day and find it crumbling from lack of care. I already have opinions (ahmm!), regarding the current tenants! But so many old houses in that area seem to meet that fate. Like this house, they have typically been in the family for generations, and the children no longer have an interest in living that far out. I believe if I recall this house was originally built in the late 30's or early 40's. Our friend grew up there. He now lives just around the bend of the road, and was a frequent visitor. He had cared for his mother, who remained in the house until her death, and afterwards he and his wife renovated it a bit and decided to rent it. It was their first excursion into renting, and they were skeptical. But he once told us that the minute he hung up the phone he knew we were the ones. Another testament to the fact that the house chose us! :)

The years we lived there were some of the happiest of our lives, and the memories we carry from that time will remain with us for eternity. It shaped and molded us in a way that no other place we lived before or have lived since has or I believe even could. That brick and mortar could be fashioned to make such an impact, to mean so much, astounds me. Holding to the promise that God is preparing a place for me in heaven, He need look no farther than the little house on Stone Mountain Road. I  would be happy to spend an eternity there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post.