“The septic guy can’t find the cover, call him,” was the message. I’ve been getting a lot of messages like this since I decided to put my 100+ year-old farmhouse up for sale.
I haven’t lived in the farmhouse for years now—not since I moved out to go to graduate school and become a writer, met Peter, married Peter, and moved on with my life. The farmhouse was where I lived for many years with my first husband and then, for a while, after our divorce. The farmhouse is where I thought I’d grow old. I planted a lot of trees. I had a garden. I painted every wall, inside and out. I thought there was a strong likelihood I’d die in that house. Now I’ve put it up for sale.
The house has been rented for the last few years. I’ve been getting a reasonable rent for it but being a long-distance landlord is not easy. Things go downhill.
“Why are they parking their cars on the lawn?” I wonder when I visit. “What’s that stuff piled in the woods?” Gradually the property starts to look less and less well-cared for. It was time.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I remember Joel, the contractor who did most of the improvements to the house. Joel was a perfectionist and a terrible estimator of his time, so the work ended up being far more beautiful and far more expensive than anyone anticipated. But I can’t say I did much to discourage him.
Joel asked me one day, “How long do you plan to live in this house?”
“Well, my grandmother lived to be 100. Does that help?”
“Okay then,” Joel replied.
Joel put in the solid wood shelves that used to be filled with my books and treasures from travel. He put in a fireplace with tile running around it. He patched the upstairs floor where a wall was removed with wood he took from the closet, so it was impossible to tell it had been repaired, then found nearly-matching wood to repair the back of the closet—just in case anyone should look, just because that’s how Joel was.
Nothing in the sale price of the house will reflect the bookshelves or the perfectly matched wood. Nothing will reflect the weeks upon weeks I came home from work, changed clothes, and worked until late while listening to the radio as I varnished, so the woodwork would yellow gently with time and match the original wood. So, no, it’s not easy.
And, despite a bad end, the marriage that occurred in that house was not without happiness. Most of my married life was lived in that house. There was a lot of optimism, then a lot of worry, and eventual despair over that marriage, but I am not going to deny that there were happy moments too, times when I felt secure and as if I had found my home forever.
I called the septic guy, Jack, and told him where to find the cover. I am sure there will be more calls. But right now, I’m just hoping the house will sell to someone who loves it. I’m hoping one day they’ll notice the handiwork on the bookshelves. Maybe they’ll like the woodwork. Maybe they’ll admire the tiles around the fireplace on a cold winter night.
I want someone to fill the old house with books and treasures and happiness and feel as if it is a home they could live in for a very long time—maybe forever—or however long forever lasts.
Till next time,
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May Traffic Report Thomas, Dyami R, Bellingham, Wash, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $105, court cost $108. Araujo Pompa, Almedio, Coral Gables, Fla, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $105, court cost $108. Lennon, Jake Owen, Pittsburg, Penn, driving 93 mph... [More]
James Manuel Phillips, Gardner, Colo, driving 77 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $57 and court costs $108. Kenzie Marie Spreier, Colby, Kans, diving 80 in a 65 mph zone, fines $75 and court costs $108. Erick Edward Jarosz, Canon City, Colo, driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone,... [More]
Jonathan Brandon appeared in Wallace County District Court on April 10th, 2019, with his court appointed attorney, Steve Cott, Garden City, for sentencing in cases 17 CR 51 and 17 CR 58. Each case charged Brandon with Distribution of Methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school,... [More]
Chandler, Garrett Scott, Pueblo, Colo, driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $69, court costs $108. Palmier, Joshua Quayshun, Birmingham, Ala, driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone, fines $99, court costs $108. Chavez, Brenda Icilice, Denver, Colo, driving 85 mph in a 65 mph zone,... [More]
On March 13th, 2019 Charlene Valdez appeared in Wallace County District Court with court appointed attorney Leslie Beims, Goodland in the matter of case number 2017 CR 42. Valdez had been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, within 1,000’ of a school,... [More]
Chandler, Garrett Scott, of Pueblo, Colo, cited for driving 79 mph in a 65-mph zone, ordered to pay $65 in fines and $108 in court costs. Palmier, Joshua Quayshun, of Birmingham, Ala, cited for driving 84 mph in a 65-mph zone, ordered to pay $99 in fines and $108 in court... [More]
USD 241 celebrated Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23 - 30. The Red Ribbon Campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation. Grades K-5 focused on making Really Excellent Decisions. One of the week’s activities was a Red Ribbon Coloring Contest. One winner... [More]
The United Methodist Church Church, 520 W. Sixth St., will be among 5,000 U.S. drop-off locations collecting shoebox gifts for needy children overseas during Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18 – 25. Operation Christmas Child is a... [More]
Congratulations to Wallace County High School senior volleyball players Haylee Hennick (second team) and Aubrey Kuhlman (first team) for being selected to NWKL All-League Volleyball! In addition, Colby Community College announced rosters for the Annual Northwest Kansas All-Star... [More]
Back by popular demand to Western Plains Arts Association is Derik Nelson & Family. The family will perform “Season” with beautiful pictures and velvety harmonies, at 3 p.m. CST, Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Cultural Arts Center, Colby Community College, 1255 S. Range... [More]
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459 registered voters (42.23%) turned in ballots for the 2019 general election. In the race for Sharon Springs Mayor, Patrick Gibbs received 109 write-in votes, Will Walker had 85 votes and Julie Samuelson received 36 write-ins. There were 2 positions available... [More]
Attention all dart players! Dart League will be starting soon. Exhibition Dart Play will take place on both November 12th and November 19th at the Sharon Springs Golf Course Clubhouse at 6pm. You do not need to be a golf member to play darts – EVERYONE is welcome –... [More]
On Saturday, the Fort Wallace Museum welcomed author Chuck Warner and his wife Karen to the Museum to discuss his new book “Birds, Bones and Beetles,” about his grandfather Charles “Bunk” Bunker, who was a KU Naturalist that explored Wallace County and... [More]
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For anyone that loves history, the upcoming Smoky Hill Trail Conference is not to be missed! This 2019 Annual Conference is being held right here at the Fort Wallace Museum, on Friday, October 18th through Sunday, October 20th. The title and theme for the Conference is... [More]
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