Saturday, October 18, 2008

Magic And Houses And Being Home

Mr. Moon wanted to buy a new bow to shoot deer with yesterday and so we drove up to Cairo, Georgia where he'd located one big enough for a man almost seven feet tall. We made an excursion of it, taking the Cutlass down country roads and it was lovely.

You've heard of the "magic hour"? That hour right before dusk when the light is perfect? Well, this time of year every second seems like the magic hour and as we drove through pine forests with wire grass and blooming golden rod and big oaks bearded with Spanish moss tossing in the wind, everything looked like something from a movie, or a coffee table book, perhaps entitled, Scenes From The South, A Glorious Day.

We stopped in Thomasville and ate lunch at that farmer's market restaurant, I forget what it's called, but at one point, sitting there with a plate of three kinds of beans, two kinds of greens, okra and tomatoes, a piece of baked chicken, and carrot salad before me I said something like "I could just sit here for the rest of my life."

Bring me some more tea, please, Honey, and pass that Crystal hot sauce, if you don't mind.

The bow-purchasing took, quite literally, a few hours but I had two New Yorker magazines to read so I didn't mind. I sat in the shade and read my magazines and occasionally went inside to use the restroom or check on the progress of the transaction which took so long because they have to do all sorts of stuff TO the bow before you can use it.

While I was waiting, I talked to a little boy who got inside a camo tent set up on the porch of the store next to where I was reading.

"Hey!" he said to me. "I'm a bat! I like the darkness!"

"Really?" I asked, looking up from my magazine. "Are you upside down in there?"

"I am!" he said. "But now I'm going to turn back into a human," and he shook the tent and made it tremble and when he popped out, he was indeed a real human little boy with brown hair and brown eyes and a very wide smile and his parents called to him and he got in the car with them and drove away and they all waved to me and I waved back.

Besides all the trees and fields we passed on our way there and back, we passed a lot of beautiful old houses, some large and handsome and some small and more cabin-like and one of the cabins was the prettiest color blue. I said a silent thanks to my grandfather who had moved from his native Pennsylvania to Tennessee long before I was born because I believe it may be against the law in the farming country of PA to paint your house blue and I'd hate to live in a place where there are no blue houses. Or pink ones, for that matter.

I'm one of those people who has always seen houses and thought, "There. That should be my house. I could go in there and find the kitchen and make biscuits and I could lie down in a bed in a room in that house and sleep peacefully and I would be happy there."

All my life I have done that. I remember doing it when I was a child, passing shotgun shacks with geraniums blooming from tomato cans on the front porch and and I remember doing it in high school, craving to live in a tiny stucco house in the middle of Winter Haven that had a tile roof.

The one thing that all these fantasy houses had in common was that they were old. Those old houses with character and personality developed from housing generations of people are the ones I have always craved to move into. Slip out of my own skin and into another.

But I don't do that anymore. I have the house now that I used to drive by and think, "Oh, I should live there." And I do. I live here. It's unbelievable to me still, after four years.

Sometimes when I'm outside, people will slow down as they drive by and they ask me questions about the house. I'm always happy to talk to them. "It's a beautiful home," they say wistfully as they drive away and I nod in agreement. It is a beautiful home. It's not especially fancy and it's not especially huge and it's not especially ancient, but it's graceful and it looks almost as if it grew here, like the oaks, the way it rambles on with its additions and porches.

It's not everyone's idea of a dream home. But it's mine. And the fact of that matter is, for the first time in my life, I feel as if I really am home. When we were in the process of buying this house, I was in a big Dixie Chicks phase and their song, A Home, constantly went through my head. I almost feel as if they had something to do with the magic of us finding the place, (and so did the Beatles, but that's another story), selling the house we were living in, and buying this one. Their song spoke so fiercely and eloquently of the regret of not living in a home that might have been. And I knew somehow, that if I didn't live in this house, I would live with that regret for the rest of my life.

Tonight I went out front and did something I've never done before. I stuck a political candidate's sign in front of my house. In front of my home. It says, "Change." It's a sign for Barack Obama, the man who I am fairly certain will be the first president of our country whose skin is not lily white. His sign sits in front of my white house, built for white people by the labor of black men, most likely, in a time when those same black men probably couldn't even dream of a time when they could cast a vote for president, much less run for president.

Times change. History moves on. And here in this house, my home, I feel part of it.

I love the south. I love my home. I love my community which is made of white people and black and where the golden rod blooms and people live their lives and live in all sorts of houses.

This is our home.

Mr. Moon is out in the woods with his new bow and it is the magic hour as the last of the day's light pours itself onto my trees, my flowers, my house.

And I am about to go make soup in the kitchen of my house and there is no house I'd rather make soup in and there is no place I'd rather be but here, in my community, where I belong.

My home. My beautiful home.

Where I have no regrets; none at all.


  1. What I should have done was start the song and then read the post. Very nice indead and the perfcet thing to read on a Sunday.
    The first thing I thought when I saw your house was: "that looks like the house of a writer."
    It looks as though people will visit it one day to see where the books where written.

  2. Oh well. It WAS the house of a writer. Connie May Fowler lived here. But so far, no one has stopped on pilgrimage. But you're right. I should have put the song first.
    Thank-you, Brother B.

  3. I was speaking of the current writer in residence.

  4. Well I write, so I suppose I am a writer.
    Probably more people would stop by for my soup though.
    You're so sweet.

  5. Ms. Moon~ I do that too with houses! First it started out that I would picture where I would want to play dolls, when I was very young. Then, I would picture myself in certain homes (houses) when I would see one that I loved. I've done this in every state I have lived in, or when I've gone visiting in places. Actually, I still do it. Mentally, I will say, nope, I couldn't live there because of this or that, or yep, I see myself there and imagine it. It is so interesting to me that you brought this subject up.

    Your house is beautiful with all that foliage and I would ask questions about it if I saw you outside too.

    And, I have eaten at that little farmer's market restaurant in Thomasville and think it's such a homey place. :)

    I loved this. Thank you. :)

  6. That was such a sweet post. I like the story about the little "bat" boy in the tent.
    Hey, I looked up what that pin is that you gave me and I found out that it's for the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society. Do you remember being apart of that group, because by the looks of it, you were a member.

  7. No memories whatsoever, Miss Honey. Oh well. If you get in that particular society you can use my pin. You probably will.
    I'm glad you liked the bat boy story. He was very cute.

  8. Everyone at the flea market this weekend seemed a little blissed out by the beautiful weather. I can't wait to come house sit next weekend!

  9. amazing...

    i love reading ms. moon

    you give me something to look forward to

  10. DTG- you're going to have to put fresh ice on the deer out there in the garage while you're here.
    But you'll reap the benefits when we give you sausage.

    AJ- thank you. I appreciate your appreciation.

  11. This is one of my fave D Chicks tracks

  12. random click on your side bar, as i ready myself for the treadmill (avoiding it actually), chose Dixie Chicks subject, because I like them, but weird to find wonderful this writing about houses and homes (and this sweet song), because I am struggling so much with the idea of home, if I can leave this place, the only home I've ever owned. i have to, it will be okay. i want to believe like you, that there is a dream house out there for me, not a mansion, not the perfect everything, but a place that whispers to me like yours did. i'm so so happy you got your "house the might have been, a home" you write about it so beautifully, you make it so welcoming, full of love and laugher and soup!

  13. Bethany- Wow. It was nice to come back here and read that again and thank you for causing me to.
    I still feel that same way about this house.
    It is home and I have no regrets.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.