Friday, September 18, 2009

Gratefuls in the midst of destruction and restoration

In the last couple of weeks, we've had our kitchen gutted and begun filling it back up with good things. Flooring and cabinets so far. It may be three more weeks before we get a counter top and running water in there, but progress it is.

There is, well there was, an old farmhouse along the road just past our church. It sat watch at that farm corner with its outbuilding or two and its cute little porch out front for more years than I can hope to have for myself. Of course it was white once. Absolutely. It was holding tight to the remainder of its grayed whiteness just this week, in sharp contrast to the plywood blinders someone slapped over the windows a while back.

I've had a long intrigue with this particular house for some reason. I think people lived there when we moved here ten years ago. There were signs of occupation anyway, the type of occupation an aged home gets from renters. I saw in that place a bit of my childhood. Green grass growing clear through from the yard into the ditch and up to the road. Cornfield cutting off the yard from two sides at a right angle. Gravel driveway. I've never lived on a farm, but somehow I carry farm life deeply. This decrepit farmhouse at the edge of suburbia gave me daydreamy moments. Over the years I've wondered what it was like inside, and who built it for whom, and why was it not loved anymore? I wondered if I could save it. I knew I could not.

I drove past the house in the morning at the moment the machinery took a swipe at the roof and the walls caved in on themselves. Two men wearing hard hats and big bellies stood there in the grass, faces upturned. There is no place to stop and watch, so I drove on to work. Later, trucks drove away with the debris. They left behind a green square with a hole-side driveway. I suppose even the hole is gone by now.

There will be no new farm house to keep watch at the corner. The finality grieves me.

Maybe the destruction of my kitchen and the destruction of the farmhouse was just a coincidence. My kitchen had to be torn apart to remove the mold from the water leak a couple months ago. And mold there was, between the layers of flooring and in the newspapers stuffed behind the cabinets. Newspapers? Why? Some things we'll never know, like why a farmhouse is neglected into oblivion.

Neglect, intended or accidental yields similar results. Destruction is fast and loud and messy and disruptive and so shocking, but it's only part of the story. Restoration begins with slow and painstaking work toward the long awaited mysterious end. There lies the hope.

228. Being reminded of the day El sang "That's Amore" while vaccuuming.
229. Being able to do something for someone without them knowing it.
230. Getting a fabulous deal on rugs.
231. Putting down the rugs today.
232. Watching the boxes clear out of the living room day by day.
233. Watching the kitchen get closer to done every day.
234. Hearing the laughter of the three people I love the most.


flutter said...

I feel so blessed to watch as this rebuilding unfolds

Rachel said...

I've always been intrigued by that little house too (we drive by every week to church) and was also kind of sad when I saw it was torn down! My rational brain said, "It was beyond saving and an eyesore so it should have been torn down" but my nostalgic one said, "That's such a shame!"

Emily said...

I carry farm life as well, in a pocket on my heart. My grandparents owned and ran a dairy farm when I was growing up. The cows were exciting, and we used to swim in the trough while their thick tongues lapped at the water and our backs. We would walk barefoot through the pastures, hopping from one cow pie to the next like a really messy game of hopscotch... The farmhouse, though, was a maze of rooms, doors closed on antique furniture and magazines stacked floor to ceiling... Makes me want to sit here and write down everything I can remember about that house. I hope someone is living there, piling their rubber boots by the back door.

Woman in a Window said...

Your gratefuls are food for the soul.

Funny how farmhouses speak to something that runs our veins, isn't it? An ideal of long ago, perhaps. It pains me to see them go. Fickle us culture to think newer is better. Sometimes it's necessary within the framework of old, but sometimes, just sometimes those old structures can grant a family a home. We're in one, newspapered walls and all.

Gonna show after pictures of your kitchen?

Sissy said...

We remodeled our kitchen two years ago and it was so much work. So much work. It was a lot of hard decision making and waiting for things to be done. My husband thinks he is some kind of handyman, but in the reality he is not. He tries so hard, but he is not handy at all.