My house still creaks cold, nearly 200 winters gone. I turn a simple dial on the wall and warm air blows against my feet as I pour sweet cream into my coffee.
Years ago, we heated with wood. If the fire went out in the night our mornings in March were challenging. I’d make newspaper knots while Bill gathered wood from the side porch. I can still remember the sound of him stomping snow off his feet.
“I hate the cold.” I’d hear him grumble.
The kids dressed in front of the fire. When it was so cold pipes froze and ice formed on the laundry room walls, there was always one cheerful in the bunch to proclaim, “Hey, this is fun…we’re roughin’ it!”
I had wall to wall carpet in my bedroom closet growing up. This farmhouse had no closets, and the only hint of carpet was the unpainted portion on the old wood floors. The kid’s bedrooms were so tiny we kept their bureaus downstairs. Storage was any space we could find, behind doors, under beds, in trunks. We became great “tuckers.”
Everything about this old farmhouse stretched me. I learned to paint, drywall, manage crazy flies and wasps, kill critters, plus garden, can, freeze and cook venison. The walls were so rolly I had to learn how to hang a picture crooked so it would appear straight from a distance. Our garage sale refrigerator held salmon eggs for fishing, and fox urine concoctions for scenting traps. Pelts dried in the side tree, and a record of cored woodchucks kept on the blackboard in the hall. Yes, we were rough’ it.
Here in this old farmhouse I found the road of faith. Here deep streams of creativity found their way to expression. Here, within these ancient walls,
“Sweet Jesus, come to me…sweet Jesus, come and be the ruler of every single day…” songs of the morning, born of budding devotion. He left his mark upon my heart . . . I’m so thankful still remain.
You’ve heard, old farmhouse, each lilting song of praise, each giggle, fight and sob. You’ve watched me grow from child to listener. You’ve sheltered five generations of family and friends, seen gold stars hung for soldiers lost, and watched dark caskets cross your threshold. You’ve been the canvas for my dreams.
I sit alone, Scarlet purring on my lap, and think of the life touches in this old place.
Now, women with paint-stained fingers gather to create art and eat soup every Wednesday. Musicians practice in the make-shift garage studio. Grandkids thunder through, and roam the fields where their grandpa, and great grandpa, and great-great grandpa grew.
My son stops by and I hear it… stomp, stomp…kick. More marks to etch our history deeper still. I’m still here, Lord . . . my wavy glass restored, the view unchanged.
“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. . . teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. . .” (Psalm 25)