They say home is where the heart is; I say your heart makes a home. Our world is filled with gadgets to keep us occupied, stay connected, or feel accomplished. Isn’t it interesting how nothing can replicate the feeling of being home?
Maybe the feeling of home can’t be replicated, because it is something that can not be bought or touched. The pleasure of having a home takes time, love and commitment. A home encompasses relationships that take years, and at times generations, to become altruistic relationships and everlasting memories to be shared amongst laughter & tears.
We all have a place that provides us a feeling of safety or peacefulness. We all have family and friends who offer unconditional love and guidance. Our life journey- the ups & downs- all provide the pathway to a destination of understanding what is of true value & deserves to become our life purpose. All these things combined make up our sense of home.
I was recently asked what is my favorite part in ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’. It is the chapter when Elizabeth is describing a farmhouse in Vermont. Although many editors say less is more and readers don’t want all that description, I didn’t listen to their advice. I think after reading that part of the book, you really understand what Elizabeth values, and the importance of making everyone feel like they are home.
‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’, p. 154-156
Before making the turn onto Route 7, I turned left passed the gas station and down the dirt road towards the Jameson place. My heart began to race a bit and I laughed at myself for feeling nervous. I turned into the pebble driveway and turned off the engine. Max was sound asleep, and I decided not to wake him. I quietly opened the car door and walked towards the front of the house. It’s funny how you can tell when a house is vacant. It seems to have lost a certain glow or gives a secret message to the passerby that the walls have no one to protect. This house, however, gave a feeling that it carried a lot of memories and once stood very tall among these hills. I envisioned a time when its clapboards were clean and white and there wasn’t a cobweb to be found between the posts on the porch. It was once a house that kept a housewife very busy with beating rugs on the clothesline and children safe from the winter winds. I imagined a farmer sitting on his porch after a hard day’s work and asking God for good weather until the harvest.
I opened the porch screen door and gave the front door knob a turn. It opened and I smiled. I entered the home and gave a quiet hello. No one answered. My quick survey of the main room told me I was alone. All the furniture was gone and some spiders had already found a new home in the fireplace. The mantle was made from Mahogany wood. My father would like that. The fancy trim and wainscoting showed much craftsmanship was involved in building this house. I could just picture a cozy winter evening by the fireplace, while reading a book I selected from the collection on the bookshelves by each side of the fireplace. The double windows looked out to the front porch and a neighbor’s field for grazing cows. I could see his farmhouse in the distance. Close enough to someone to not feel alone, but distant enough to enjoy the tranquility of a country evening. I walked towards the back of the house and entered the kitchen. The sink had a few Coke bottles. My feet led me to the other end of the house, which I guessed, must have been used as a dining room. It was a bit small, but the sunlight made it feel warm and welcoming. I thought this would make a perfect office. It was close to the kitchen to grab that extra cup of coffee while writing. I noticed there were sliding doors that opened to the front room. The downstairs was like one big circle, how perfect, I thought. I walked up the open staircase. Each of my steps was met with a creak. The banister needed some repair, but nothing a few nails and some cleaning couldn’t fix. I touched the walls while walking up the stairs and imagined my family pictures displayed on the wall. At the top of the stairs, I stopped and looked down the hallway. I counted four doors, with a bathroom at the end of the hall. I could only imagine the long lines in this house when all the rooms were filled with children. The bedrooms were all pretty much the same, but the view from each window framed a different picture. The first bedroom had a view of the front yard and the majestic mountains that served as a guardian to the dairy farm in the distance. The next bedroom I entered looked out on the barn. If I stood a short distance from the window, it seemed to create a perfect frame of the old wooden barn. As I walked into the next bedroom, I looked out the window and could see the old dirt road continuing along the path. My eyes glanced down, and I smiled at what I saw. It was the Jamesons’ grapevine. Of course, there appeared to be more wood beams with dead vines wrapped around them. I could tell that Mr. Jameson once sat proudly under that grapevine. I even saw a few old wine bottles stacked against one of the poles. I started to think of what my Grandpa Frank would say…leaving a grapevine in such neglect….and then I heard a car door close. I ran to the last bedroom that faced the front of the house and looked out the window. Max had woken up and he was loading some film in his camera. I walked downstairs and out the front door.
“There you are,” said Max with a smile. “Are you being nosey?”
“Inquisitive,” I answered.
“I’m just going to get a few shots and then we can take off.”
“Fine with me. Take your time.”
I walked towards the barn and opened the door. Francis’ lawn equipment and a few power tools were inside. I started to walk towards the loft when I heard a voice.
“Oh, good morning Francis. You startled me. I wasn’t expecting anyone.”
“Well, I just thought I’d stop by on my way to breakfast at the diner. I was hoping I’d see you here.”
“Yeah, kinda hoping you might fall in love with the place.”
“It certainly is a nice home. I’m sure you won’t have any problem selling it.”
“Well, I won’t have a problem selling the land. It’s the house I’m worried about. You see, all these young folks come up here, but they want all those modern gadgets you find in these new houses. They tear down these old places and put up something fancy.”
“And what makes you think I wouldn’t tear down this place, too?”
“Because you didn’t call it a house…you called it a home.”