Friday, March 13, 2009
Homes Are Forever
Our phone started ringing early at our house today. Friends from our hometown of Reynolds were letting us know that the house in which we raised our family had burned to the ground. Thankfully nobody was hurt or killed.
But at least a thousand memories ran through my mind as I drove to my office in Macon this morning. And a huge lump was in my throat when I drove over this afternoon to visit my friends, the Barrow’s, and to see what’s left of the place where we raised our family.
I was playing golf one afternoon in the fall of 1987 and was driving in a golf cart down number 9 fairway when I saw my friend and realtor Pete Ayers putting a For Sale sign in the yard of that house. I finished playing golf that day and went straight home and told my wife the house we had always wanted was for sale. In a matter of weeks we sold our house and purchased the beautiful house that sat next to Number 9 fairway.
I can tell you there was a lot of living in that house before we ever bought it. In fact, the Bond family lived there for 38 years. Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Bond and family were there long before we took over. I remember being very proud to be moving in the Bond home. And I think Mrs. Bond was proud as well.
When we moved in, I was only 33 years old and Kathy was 32. Our boys were 7, 6 and 2. When we moved to Warner Robins 16 years later, Kathy and I were both 48 – the boys were 23, 21, and 17. I can tell you we did a lot of living in that house. And a whole lot of learning. There was also a lot of praying when our boys got older and were out and about and doing who knows what. Thankfully the praying paid off. They never got killed or killed anyone else and they all turned out fine. But I have to admit I did wonder a time or two if they would make it.
About three months after we moved in, we bought a yellow lab and named her Abby. She was a part of our family the entire 16 years we were there. To say Abby was known by all the golfers would be a huge understatement. She became an institution at the Reynolds Golf Club.
The house was always full of boys. I remember literally stepping over kids sleeping all over the floor of the den on a weekend when I would leave in the middle of the night to go on a death call. The Johnson girls lived across the golf course and they came in and out as much as our own boys. And there were the cousins who came on many weekends and spent weeks at a time in the summer…and the Harrell cousins who visited their grandparents next door.
My goodness there was a lot of living in that house.
For some of you golfers who are reading this who thought you were stung by a wasp when you bent over to tee up your ball, I have come to find out later in life it wasn’t a wasp. You probably were shot by a BB gun by one of my boys with their cousins and/or friends dressed in camouflage hiding in the bushes.
Later the girlfriends came. And my goodness they were cute and I had so much fun. But sometimes I wondered if my boys knew it. I was sitting in the den one night listening to one of my sons break up with his very cute girlfriend. I almost fainted when he told her he felt like he needed to spend more time with his truck.
There were times in the later years when we would have girl spend the night parties. And I would step over girls when I left the house in the middle of the night.
I thought today of the time I drove up and thought there had been a murder. There was blood all under the carport and on the brick walls. My heart dropped to my stomach. I remember being relieved when I discovered John and his friend Syd had picked up a possum on the highway and skinned it under our carport.
I also remember driving up one afternoon and seeing my mother fall as she was walking in the side door. I got her up off the floor and took her to her doctor in Macon that day. He admitted her and she died less than a week later. I also remember my dad eating his last meal in the dining room of that house. I took him back home that night and found him dead the next morning.
When I stood this afternoon looking at the remnants of the place we once called home, I swallowed hard.
But I was reminded of something very important.
Houses can be destroyed overnight.
But homes are forever.