My Dad was a Real Estate magnet. Houses seemed helplessly attracted to him. He did not deal with Trump style, nor make a fortune, but he was a mover and a shaker; mostly a mover.
Land auction was his specialty. Sometimes he was called to court as an expert when there was a dispute about what constituted boundaries or how much worth there was to some specific acreage in question.
Pacing off a parcel according to the strange sounding directions of an old deed found down at the courthouse was pure entertainment. The other thing that gave him great joy was what most of the world dreads: moving!
He loved the next house the best. It may have been the thrill of the find, or the adventure of waking up in a different place, or perhaps a mysterious need to find the perfect home. No matter the reason, it was just plain fun for him.
He was blessed to have married a woman who loved to see him happy and whistling as he puttered around the “new” place, making adjustments here and there. She has laughingly admitted to leaving work and heading in the wrong direction, forgetting just where she had left her current residence.
Once, he thought it would be hilarious to exit the neighborhood and not tell his daughter. I drove for five hours to arrive at an empty house. There was a sign on the door that read, “Surprise! We heard you were coming home so we moved.”
When I shifted gears in the little sports car to make it up the driveway at the new address, I could see why he wanted to relocate. This time it was a gorgeous A-frame with a splendid view.
As he came out to greet me he was dancing his version of a jig, with a modified Charleston step, hoping I had taken the joke with good humor. He was so delighted with the newest abode I had to laugh with him. Time spent at the A-frame was a quick fast-forward. The neighbors had peacocks that yelled, “Hey-ulp,” day and night. It was somewhat un-nerving.
In high school, when rolling a yard was the epitome of stupid pranks, a mischief-maker remarked in a smug voice, “What did you think about your lawn and trees this morning?”
“Oh,” I answered sweetly, “ We don’t live wherever you decorated anymore.”
Dad made a good deal on a house so huge my brother could ride his new bicycle through the whole downstairs and not bother anybody. There were about eight bedrooms and baths plus a lovely staircase reminiscent of the one some famous Hillbillies owned after they discovered all that Texas tea. The mansion phase of Dad’s home-hobby sported a pool. In keeping with the Clampett theme, he dubbed it the cement pond. What else?
There was a four-car garage with empty servant’s quarters overhead. No servants ever showed up. When a four-lane took most of the massive front yard Dad had already headed up and moved out. The imposing structure provided office space for the Boy Scouts for over thirty years. There is report of a family who has rescued the old girl for a makeover. I’m glad.
He loved the condominium, but there was no carport. The duplex was a good investment because they could rent out the other side, but then it wasn’t very private. The smart looking yellow two-story was on a dangerous road. Besides, the gurgle of plumbing echoed through the too thin walls. The sturdy brick was a half block from the white frame, so the moving van simply backed up the street to unload.
They kept giving me things like Grandma’s cedar chest and rocker, the old copper bed warmer, a picnic table, the organ, vases, books, and other interesting or antique possessions. They were tired hauling them.
A few years before his passing to better quarters, they settled into this cozy, post war cottage. When I returned home three years ago, his dear widow welcomed me with open arms but rolled her eyes when she saw what I had with me: the cedar chest, the rocker, the copper bed warmer. She was relieved we had dumped the organ along the way.
This August will mark a decade since Dad made his final move. Newcomers to Heaven may see him dancing out of his mansion, laughing and eager to welcome them to what every human is searching for: A REAL Estate - The Perfect Home.
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