The banister was perfect for sliding down when Aunt "M" wasn't looking, the porch was great for playing games, the yard had the best hill that made playing "crack the whip" not only fun, but a little dangerous.
I had my first taste of eggnog in this house ( and hated it). I tried my best to ignore the finer points of chicken butchering when it took place on the front yard. I baled hay...lots of hay in the fields around it.
Our house sat on the hill opposite of this one and my mom and my aunt would routinely yell from the porches when it was time for us to come home. Both farm yards were full of places to explore and adventures to be had. The six of my siblings and the eight cousins meant there was never a lack of people to have the adventures with.
It had been years since I have been down the road that leads to the two houses that were the backdrop for so much of my youth. I hadn't even thought about them for awhile. My old house is a home again but the brick home that my uncles family lived in has been vacant for many, many years. Then I got a call saying that arsonists had set this house on fire. There was a pit in my stomach, a sinking feeling.
A couple days after the fire I went to see what was left. The grass was still smoldering in some areas. It was sobering to see only a shell left of the house that had been the source of so many fun times and good memories for me.
As I looked around I began to notice that there were things of beauty in what was a home at one time. There was a pattern to the double brick walls. The color of the crushed glass against the soot covered bricks. The simple beauty of the old square nails that had held the now charred wood together.
I can not change the fact that the house which was the source of so many memories for me is now just a burned out shell. I can choose how I see what is left of it. In all of life there can be a beauty in the breaking, in the refining, in the changing.