Saturday, August 18, 2007

Every house has a story. Sometime when you have a few minutes/hours to spare, ask me for the "Impossible Dream," bat dung, neighborhood ghost, wallpaper, hardwood floor, cistern pit, new couch, sleepwalking Igor, and wood wall stories.

That pine tree, now taller than the west porch, almost didn't make it despite my Dad's careful planting. But I can still remember the rush of frigid air that invaded our warm living room every time somebody went out to that side porch to plug in the extension cord for the double string of Christmas lights King Alli draped faithfully year after year on that then-scrawny tree.

Furthermore, it takes everybody to make someplace 'home.' And so the stories at 326 West Sixth Street include us all -- Anastasia's guilty meatball spot on the barnboard kitchen wall, the corner where Mookie somehow miraculously caught Tuna the parakeet in mid-flight, the football field next to the raspberry bushes where Kent broke his leg (but caught the ball), the basement loft where the Anderson cousins slept and helped haul out soggy carpet when the river flooded, the apartment where I asked our foster siblings Huong and Trong to teach me insults in Vietnamese that I could use on my unsuspecting little brother.

But the stories that caught my camera's eye when I was in Blue Earth sorting through umpteen boxes of junk/treasure this weekend were about my Dad:

My Dad hung this tire swing from a sturdy branch about 35 feet up this walnut tree.

He crafted this stained-glass window next to the front door.

He planted prairie flowers around the house -- except where he transplanted the ever-expanding raspberries that so delight neighbors, relatives, and birds.

And he cared for this Japanese Lilac tree, which blooms only every other year but nearly always -- as if to say thanks on behalf of the whole huge corner lot that holds the eccentric seven-gabled house -- on Father's Day.

Thanks Dad. And thanks Mook too, naturally. You two made this place such a love-steeped home for us. But when the difficult time comes to say a final goodbye to this house, it will be that much less tough because you also showed us how to make anywhere we ever find ourselves 'home' too.


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