Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Coming Home to a Place You've Never Been Before

For some reason, this Street Team crusade of Michelle's really has struck a chord within me. I've liked most of the places where I've lived in my life. I even like 10860 because it is my home with the Sports Fan, despite what you might think after having read the last post. Of course, 245 is dear to my heart as my childhood home. More about that in another post. But 19 was my home! I'm sure that all of you have had one home that seems more important than the others in some way. Number 19 is that to me. John Denver put the love for Colorado deep in my soul before I ever beheld its beauty with my own eyes. He sang about "coming home to a place you've [sic] never been before" in Rocky Mountain High. I think you just have to go there to understand how connected that music is to the mountains. And I was fortunate enough to live there for 5 years.

The last time I was in Colorado, we didn't even drive past it to see how it was doing. The time before, it was sporting ridiculous white vinyl gutters, a Direct TV dish on the side of the house, a citified lamppost that looked like it had been chucked into the front yard from a helicopter, and a ridiculous, larger than life-size statue of a Dalmatian next to the front deck. Of course, in my day, it had a Starband/Dish Network parabolic dish on the front, so maybe the DTV thingy was an improvement. The lamp post and the Dal defy logic. The dog statue was next to the lone step up onto the front deck with its back to the driveway, facing the door. The lamp post was in a peculiar position somewhere between the road and the front deck, but since there is no walkway there or even a path, it seemed sort of silly to say the least! Why on earth would anyone put stark white vinyl gutters on a house that sees 2 or 3 days of rain a year, at most? If it gets cold enough to precipitate there, it snows. Even in summer.

Number 19 is just outside the mountian town of Bailey, Colorado at 8600 feet above sea level, nearly at the top of a mountain called Crow Hill. When I moved to Colorado in 1997, I found a realtor and went to look at a bazillion houses all over the part of the Front Range within easy reach (55 minutes in good weather and with no cops in sight!) of the Denver Tech Center where I worked. OK, maybe it just seemed like a bazillion and it was really more like 200. ;-)) One day, my realtor, Patty Prisbrey (now Prisbrey-Campbell), called me all excited about a house she had found that I had to come see right away. It had been under contract but the deal had fallen through that morning and she wanted me to see it before someone else snapped it up. Two hours later, we stepped inside the front door and I looked up at the ceiling.

"I can afford this?!?" Patty went through the numbers again and said that yes, I could afford it.

"Buy it!"

Patty laughed and asked me if I didn't want to see the rest of it.

"Does it have bedrooms and bathrooms?"

She said it did. "So quick, let's buy it!" Patty went outside to call and tell them to expect an offer within the hour while I wandered through the house. It had no flooring except hardwood floors in the kitchen, no counters or light fixtures. I walked through seeing the views from the windows and the awesome space inside. I knew that if I couldn't have that house that I'd have to have one like it built. I'd fallen in love with the neighborhood, the views, and the interior spaces of a cedar-sided, mountain contemporary house that really didn't fit my personal style, but somehow I knew that this was where Jaspy and I would truly be at home.

Eventually, I came to know some of my neighbors. I met the gal in what we called the Swedish Cottage across the road when she was out walking her beagle. Paul and Andrea walked their black lab down the road in front of my house all the time and always stopped to pet Jaspy. I met Duncan and Debbie through them. My neighborhood was full of people like me who loved the mountains and their dogs and a rural lifestyle. When Duncan and Debbie had a party for the neighbors, I met a prematurely grey-haired guy named Dan who gave me a ride home in the dark. Later, I met Shea, his Golden Retreiver, whom I usually referred to as his girlfriend.

A year later, I was sitting on the floor of my back deck cursing at a recalcitrant screw that was supposed to hold the remaining leg onto my new patio table. I was just managing to get the tip of the screw through both holes and ready to quickly fasten it into place with a screwdriver when a huge malamute ran up onto my deck and quickly stepped his front paws over me to plant his big furry body between my face and the @#$*&%ing screw. When he started licking my face, his fur tickled me and I started to laugh. Then I cursed some more as the screw popped out of my hand and was last seen dropping between the redwood deck floor while the strange dog ran through my open kitchen door!

I was torn between going to find the screw and running inside to make sure that he wasn't going to pick a fight with Jaspy or be a bad dog in the house. Jaspy wandered out so I went down through the yard to find and pocket my screw before it was lost forever. I found the big dog eating the little balls of rice that Jaspy regularly spit out from his dog dish. Pretty soon two little boys showed up calling for Tonka. They were followed by a tall, relaxed looking woman toting a baby and apologizing. That's how I met Laura, who was destined to become one of my dearest friends and a sister of my heart. The baby was Anna, who is like my own child in some ways. I'm sort of a godmother to her. She christened me Auntie Mawawyn and Jasper became Dapper when she started talking.

Their little Maltese was Jaspy's best pal along with Shea-doggie. Somehow, the half-Cocker, half-Golden Jaspy and the purebred Golden Shea convinced Tinker that he was a Golden and not a Maltese. He thought he was the biggest dog in the neighborhood!

We had fabulous times in that neighborhood. Everyone was friendly and nice. Someone always seemed to plow my driveway for me when the snow was deep. I never knew who.
Laura and I decided to have a BBQ the autumn before Duncan and Debbie moved to Flagstaff. I made up flyers and the kids colored them. Laura and the kids distributed them on one of their daily walks through the neighborhood. The neighbor kids who lived next to Laura came over after school and built a big fire pit in my yard lined with rocks. Another neighbor, KC had come over with his dad to remove four large Ponderosa pines that had succumbed to pine beetles so there was lots of small stuff to burn. We put bales around the fire pit and tables on my gravel driveway and everyone brought a dish to share. Laura and I had that party two years in a row and everyone had a great time, including the kids.

I always enjoyed entertaining in my home there, whether it was Dan-o and Shea and Laura's clan over for spaghetti on the back deck, my friends from Denver out for dinner, or the whole neighborhood over for a cookout. It's taken a long time for another place to feel like home. But in one way, nowhere will ever feel as much home to me as Number 19 did.


Blogger michelle ward said...

Marilyn - thanks for sharing another story of your places in the world. It's amazing that a building can conjure up so many memories. It's more than a building, it's a community and all the things that happened. I have passed by many places I've lived before and it's hard to do isn't it? I guess that's why some say "you can never go hame again". Thankfully we can tuck in those memories and make new homes in other buildings. I love that you had annonymous snow plowers. I've had that happen too. Wonderful gesture.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 5:50:00 PM MST  
Blogger Jill said...

It sounds absolutely wonderful. Home... it really is where the heart is, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 6:52:00 PM MST  
Anonymous ollie said...

I do so enjoy reading your posts...you're a very creative wabbit indeed, always keeping me anxious to read your next line!!!!
I hope one day you make it back to Colorado...hell, I hope I make it back there too, it sounds wonderful!!!! snow in august, how cool is that!!!!!!
you guys have a wonderful xmas...& be very careful...if anything ever happened I would be lost w/out you...who would I poxie, for heavens sake?? I love you all...ollie

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 10:29:00 AM MST  
Blogger PLO said...

Great post, thanks for sharing. I llove Colorodo as well...wish I was there skiing now!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:56:00 PM MST  
Blogger Cath Sheard said...

Great post - you are a joy to read. And as for snow - aaah, we could sure do with some here. (but not a chance LOL)

Friday, December 21, 2007 2:13:00 PM MST  
Blogger Janine said...

Thanks for a great read! Snow, well that would be wonderful at the moment... way too hot and humid and we are in the midst of summer thunderstorms....

Friday, December 21, 2007 11:01:00 PM MST  
Anonymous nickic61 said...

What a wonderful memory!

Saturday, December 29, 2007 8:31:00 AM MST  
Blogger e. beck said...

great post ...
i missed this months crusade .. must work harder for the next!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008 2:30:00 PM MST  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home