Wednesday, 13 August 2014

This Old House

This Old House


"This old house once knew my children
This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin' walks about"

                                                ...Stuart Hamblen, 1954


These nostalgic lyrics have been going around in my head for a long time now, and have become more poignant with the recent sale of our family home on the Rideau River.  It is the inevitable decision that more and more of us boomers are having to make: Our old house had certainly held on as long as it could, thanks to the heroic efforts of my sister and brother, and as it packed its bags to say goodbye, it delayed its departure for more year to give our family time to pick out some mementos and take a few more looks at the beautiful view down the river.  

Memories come flooding back of games of hide-and-seek out of doors until it was too dark to see anymore; of late night swims in the heat of summer to cool us off so we could sleep, of endless sing-a-longs and parties and sharing; of heading to the garden with Dad - a slice of bread in hand for a fresh green onion sandwich, of walks down the road to the one-room schoolhouse, to Rideau Valley Inn, Margaret Kelly's raspberry patch, and to all of the childhood haunts that remain engraved in my heart.

If houses absorb spirits, then that old house was certainly spirit filled.  It was the great Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy secret keeper, guardian of the many whispers of untold prayers from Mom & Dad and all  of us children alike, and the forbearing audience for all of our crazy antics and play acting.  I'm sure it must have closed its eyes and grimaced as it silently endured the graffiti and the countless blows that we kids in our exuberance, inflicted on its walls and  floors. 

As I reflect on all of the love that is our parents legacy, and of the house that contained so much of it, I am reminded of Aunt Mamie's words of wisdom: "Make beautiful memories" - They form a foundation that will last forever - like the one that held up our old house.

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