Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Morning Thanks--this old house

Yesterday's Sunday dinner around our old oak table was the last we'll have in this old house.  The clock was ticking the day we moved in since we were renting for little more than a year, only until the owner, retiring himself, would pick up most of his life and lug it here from suburban Denver.  We couldn't, even if we wanted to, put down roots. 

That time has come now, and we're moving out. It's the rambling openness, the elbow room unlike anything I'd ever experienced that I'll remember best.  We've got neighbors here and they're good people; but the immediate world around us is deeper and wider, the huge cottonwood out back, on the bank of the river, worth the price of admission itself.  I don't miss town living.  I see new houses going up right next to each other, and I can't help wonder if there's enough breathing room.

The prior owners had long ago declared holy war against dirt and grime and dust, so when we moved in the place was spotless, cleanliness being indeed next to Godliness. The machine shed was full of tools and space and opportunity, even to someone who will forever be a misfit clutz.  In the last year, retired, I've worked outside more than I had in 27 years in our lovely old house in town. I didn't carry a fishing pole out back more than a half-dozen times, but the sheer opportunity to drown a few worms in the river just behind us offered my grandkids a species of delight they won't soon forget, even though the fish they caught were no longer than my hand.

Yesterday was our last Sunday around the dinner table here, and even though we're moving to a brand new house we built to our own specs, and even though watching that new house materialize before our eyes is itself sheer wonder; and even though the unending series of artisans who build it, insulate it, paint it, outfit it with sinks and toilets and light fixtures has been an inspiration; even though all of that is true and I can't wait to move in, I'm going to miss this old place.

The new place exists only in my imagination as yet.  It won't be real until it is and I can't for the life of me imagine it completed.  

But it will be, and it won't be long.  So yesterday the whole Iowa family sat around that old oak dinner table for a last Sunday dinner featuring, among other things, some kind of sweet apple sauce my wife made from fruit she picked from the tree out back, the first apple tree we've ever had.  We're leaving this old place, no regrets and brimming with anticipation.  But it's been good here.  It's been great.

So this morning I'm thankful for this place we've been renting, and the peace and sweet wonder of our 16 month-long hiatus amid the silver poplars and cottonwoods at the old house along the river.  

We're leaving now; but just in case you're wondering, that old oak table's coming with.

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