A while back I wrote about my life’s soundtrack…I mentioned in it that I would be going into more detail about one of the songs on my playlist in my next blog entry.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I’ve been a bit distracted lately.  I’m finally getting around to it now.

Life does that to all of us sometimes…distracts us.

Let me first apologize to all of my fans who have been waiting patiently and checking daily for this long awaited entry. There has got to be at least one of you out there who knows what I’m talking about, right??? Right???

I called it The-Song-I’ve-Lived-Song. The House That Build Me by Miranda Lambert was number 24 on a list of two dozen songs I blogged about a few months ago that make up just a tiny piece of me. At the time that I “lived” the song, it was pretty new.   I know I had heard it on the radio a few times before the experience but it wasn’t one that immediately jumped at me.  Now, I cannot get through the tune without a  lump in my throat and a tear in my eye…but nevertheless, when I hear it play across the radio waves I  pretend that I’m fine.

I’m fine.

Just writing this now is making me go there, where I don’t want to be.


I try to avoid that feeling of weakness with all that I am. And it’s hard. Really hard. Never let ‘em see you sweat, right?  I think one of the reasons that I relate to the music of my time so much is that it allows me to feel vulnerable.  For a few moments at least.  But…maybe it’s not the music at all that allows me to feel that way. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s a welcome excuse.  For just a couple of minutes I allow myself to become uncovered and exposed to my own thoughts that I work so hard to stuff away.  That’s a hard way to live. It’s something I’m consciously working on in my life now, not cramming my feelings into a dark forgotten corner of my mind.  I suppose that’s why I love to blog.  Along with walking and music, writing is a form of therapy I have found I love.  Plus these things are sooooo much cheaper than beer….

Now to the story.

When I was about ten my dad bought a house out in the “country”.  We had a couple of acres that included a modest house, a white fence to keep in the horses…if we had them…a pen for goats, or ducks, or sheep, or even chickens…that we used to keep, not those, but the doghouse.  My dad had big dreams for that place.  He talked about his plans all of the time.  He wanted to have a small orchard in the front and horses in the back.  There were already stables there just waiting to be filled.  As the years went by Dad planted a few fruit trees in front and the stables were mainly used to house the ladybugs my sister and I would collect each spring for hours on end from the shoulder-high grass in the fields.  It was heavenly.

Between the house and the front pasture were a couple of huge pink flowering trees.  One was perfect for climbing. I spent a lot of time dangling from one particularly high branch on the weekends that I spent with my dad.  A rope swing hung from another branch and I used to run to and pretend I was Mary Lou Retton, champion gymnast from the ’84 US Olympic team…my idol.  I remember my dad telling me that if I put my mind to it I could make it to the Olympics like her someday.  I believed him.

Around back was a tree house that my dad built where my sister and I used to hide in from our pesky little brother.  Below the tree house were our pet rabbits.  Every now and then a wild rabbit would hang out underneath the cages so my  sister and I built one of those traps you see on cartoons to catch the little critter…a box, a stick, a string and, of course, a really big carrot to lure him in.  We actually caught him once.  Next to our property was a horse that we wished was ours.  We would feed her dandelions and hoped her neck would never touch that electric wire running along the fence as she leaned over for her treat.  It never did.  Way out yonder, behind our fields were acres and acres of rolling hills leading up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Hundreds of cows wandered aimlessly in grass.  I should have done some cow tipping while I had the chance. I will never forgive myself for letting the opportunity get away from me.

The house was one of about 20 or so in a neighborhood way out of town…well back then it was way out there.  {Now it seems like the world has reached that little spot of heaven with all the urban development that has happened over the years.}  I had this really cool green and white bike I liked to ride up and down the street.  I figured out how to safely fly down the hill in front of the house standing on the banana seat with one foot while the other stuck out straight behind me.  When I say safely, I mean I never fell. Ever. That’s talent right there.  The peacock across the street would have to agree.

Even as a child, I knew and understood what a special place this was.  My dad showed me that.  This is the place where we could see millions of stars on a clear winter night. A place where getting up before dawn to watch the sunrise was an activity for little girls’ sleepovers.  A place where earthworms covered the driveways after a spring rain…and my father thought it was funny to chase his sweet little daughters around with one…on his tongue.  A place for bonding with my little brother and sister…when I say bonding I am thinking of walking up and down the acre of cut grass in the yard searching for dog poop.  A chore my dad saved for us when we visited.  My sis and I had a system, one would scoop the other would carry the bag. I always chose the shovel.  Bonding.

We moved away when I was about 13.

Twenty-five years later I returned…I needed a peek.  My dad had passed away the year before. I missed him.  I had just got my car up and running again and after a few months off the road I really needed to get behind the wheel of that ’65.   It had been a rough few months for me personally and I really yearned for a break away from the norm…I needed to feel the wind in my hair and turn up the music really loud.  I guess you can say I had the need, the need..for…speed.

I figured a drive on a sunny  January afternoon would help me with some anxiety and depression I was wallowing in…just an hour or so with the windows down heading for the hills of Central California.  And since I was heading that way why not take a spin by the ol’ farm?

Six blasting songs on the radio later I pulled into my old stomping grounds.  First thought? That big “hill” I flew down on my bike was more like a speed bump! Second thought? Someone added to Dad’s “orchard”.  Where there once were four or so trees now stood about 15.  And someone was actually out there working in the grove.

Now, my car is not one bit inconspicuous. It’s not subtle or quiet at all.  It’s loud. It’s red.  I had two choices. One, I could continue driving by letting the man think I was lost.  Or two, get out and explain why I was creeping by his property in a stalker-ish way.  I chose number two.

I pulled into the long gravel drive along the fence where he was working.  When I got out he said hello to me and  all I said was, “I used to live here.”  He smiled and said, “You’re Randy’s daughter”.  That’s the moment I knew that the one tissue I had in my pocket was not going to be enough….

This is how my unexpected afternoon went….he and his wife were the ones who my dad sold the house to twenty five year before.  I immediately asked how in the heck he knew who I was. He said that my dad was a hard guy to forget.  He had read about his death in the paper and figured one of us may show up one day.  He just felt it.  {Tissue} Then he invited me to take a tour…see the place that I once called home.

We walked up the drive to the house where he went in to let his wife know that they had a visitor.  While he disappeared for a moment I had the backyard to myself.  It looked unbelievably similar to the one I bopped around in so many years before.  Later I found out that the tree house had to be taken down for safety reasons but their children used it for many years.  There were even ducks and geese in the pen we used for the dog house.  There was a small garden added where my dad used to park his truck and it was filled not only with flowers, but birdhouses.  Anyone who knew my dad will know the significance of that. {Tissue}

The man returned with his wife a few minutes later and she was just thrilled to meet me.  We chatted a bit about our lives and the role the house played in each of ours.  My home, most definitely, had gone  to a good home . {Tissue}  We walked a bit more around the yard. We found my little brothers tiny handprints in the sidewalk by the back door our dad poured.  They talked about the addition they built some years ago that their youngest now occupies.

Then she invited me in.

As I stomped the dirt off my boots, much like Dad did in that very same spot, she laughed and said not to worry, the carpet is old.  Actually, it was the same carpet! I must say it held up well.  As I walked through that back door I stepped back in time.  The place was exactly the same…no updates to the fantastically 80’s kitchen either.  I was shown the room that used to be mine…which was painted from top to bottom in Perfectly Pepto Pink.  THAT was different.  As we stood in the kitchen I had to really hold myself together.  It was as if my dad could walk through the garage door at any moment.  I was suddenly ten again.  {Tissue}  I missed him with every cell in my body.

As I was fighting the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes the wife smiled and said to me, “This is just like that song that’s on the radio isn’t it?”

Yea. It was.

I Used To Live Here


2 responses »

  1. I love this. Really, truly love it [tissue]. However inappropriate to the best of this particular blog, I reacted to the electric wire on the horse fence. I did not know they did that and nearly killed myself trying to reach over to pet the horsie. [I’m short, you know.] It hurt! Horses are tough.

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