This winter seemed particularly longer and colder than previous years. I’m tired of being alone nine months out of the year. I tried to appreciate the times the deer and bears meandered by, but it didn’t fulfill like human companionship. I missed George and Bea. As the snow melted away, I yearned for their presence.
Spring eased in with the chirping of birds and the aroma of lilacs in the air. It also brought the sound of unfamiliar voices with high-pitched tones. They spoke at speeds impossible to comprehend. When I did understand, I heard, “This is unacceptable. This has got to go.” They never discussed their plans with me and insisted I needed to change.
My surgery started quickly after their first appearance. I was distraught over the extent of what they removed. It took months for the alterations to be completed. I was barely recognizable to my old self. I heard these modifications raised my value and made me easier to live in. I got the impression that transformations were good, but I wasn’t sure.
However, when Frank and Pauline and the three teens arrived, I discovered I was no longer alone. I loved the smell of bacon, garlic, chicken, or even spaghetti throughout the house all year long. My favorite was Pauline’s apple pie.
Verne, Ginny, and Bill shared the same bedroom. They argued occasionally, but most days their laughter shook the walls. I found myself surrounded by unconditional love and a spirit of peace. I realized that my procedure had been necessary. I was happier than I had ever imagined possible.
As the years passed, the teens grew up and left. They always returned for the holiday celebrations. One cold October night, Pauline died. Everyone came home to comfort Frank and though they missed her, rejoiced that she was with Jesus. It wasn’t long before Frank left me alone, never to return. It was the worst loneliness I ever felt.
One day I heard a familiar voice. Bill had returned to me with an active giddy toddler in tow. She only visited him on the weekends, but it was a blast to observe the way Bill tenderly loved Suzie. What fun it was to watch when Suzie climbed on his feet. He sang, “Jesus loves me” and danced around the kitchen. It calmed all your nerves to listen to the two of them together.
When Suzie became a teenager, she finally came to live with us all the time. Oh, they argued about Suzie’s clothes, hair, and friends. Eventually they said, “I’m sorry,” hugged, and said, “ I love you.” Suzie went to college, but came home every summer. When Suzie got married and moved away, we missed her. We loved whenever she visited, and Bill loved to spoil those grandchildren.
When Suzie wasn’t visiting we took comfort in the furry creatures we kept around. My favorite over the years was Snowball, a frisky kitty. She hid when people came to visit but rolled up in a ball on Bill’s lap as he fell asleep in front of the television each night.
The years quickly passed by and then, without any warning, Bill left with no explanation. Suzie arrived alone a few days later. I listened as she cried and talked on the telephone. She was struggling to keep her marriage together. A few days later I overheard her say, “My dad died early this morning. I can’t believe he is gone.” She sobbed for hours after hanging up.
In time Suzie’s husband and four children turned up to live with me. At first the fighting was unbearable, but months later, they settled down. They mentioned the need for an operation on me again. They stated how lifting “this” and removing “that” would make me more livable if they were going to stay. I was less scared this time.
I learned over the last fifty years, that variety is good. Suzie and her husband needed improvements and with it came reconciliation. I observed a new love develop. I listened to the laughter of children again. With my renovations came more room for all to abide.
I never was the biggest or most fancy house on the block. I watched new ones being built over the years that made me look shabby and poor. However, I was a place where Jesus was always taught and honored. I was the place in the end where we all learned to dwell together as one big happy family.
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