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A Home on the Path to Peace

Our Front Door

My Mom would often say with sadness as we drove through the countryside past an old ramshackle home, “Each old house was somebody’s dream.” My dream came true but it took a while before I recognized it!

I suppose many people who sell their homes have a bit of nostalgia attached to them, but we’re a bit over the top with our Freeville, New York house.

English: Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) Polski: Ś...

Image via Wikipedia

As a little girl, I always wanted to influence people.

When we lived in Indonesia, I dreamed of someday owning a home with Cedar shingles and fragrant Lavender bushes in the yard.  I had forgotten that these were a part of my dream house until long after our purchase, and I began to dream once more.

While we were house hunting,  as I stepped inside this home I immediately imagined its vast open space filled to capacity with people laughing and talking in a warm glow. I was sold!

The vision was exactly right, as people from all over the world have called our place home, receiving a warm meal on a cold night, relaxing around the pot-bellied stove telling stories, playing chess or a raucous game of Foosball.

Many trees on our property were named after friends when we planted them;  Melany and Pak Eko, journalists from Indonesia, for instance. Unfortunately, little Melany, the Blue Spruce was struck down in her youth by an over zealous lawn mower. Another Blue Spruce is Ella, given to my Mother by her friend. Then of course, there was Sebastian, a flashy red Maple.

Our meadow in front pops in spring with yellow daffodils in honor of my Mom, some are really old ones with lots of petals, transplanted from her field in Western Pennsylvania.

The Burning bushes lining our driveway came from Grandpa’s farm before it was turned into an upscale housing development outside of New York City   We planted them hiring “boyfriend” labor, which was readily available for several years. We fondly remember the dedicated fellow who helped my husband plant one thousand yards of electric fence digging through multi-flora roses and forest, to keep the dogs in the yard.

Sadly, I transplanted the big beautiful lavender bushes so many times, they finally just gave up and died, but we made a new start by planting lavender in the rock garden by the patio. That rock garden was a source of extra money for refugee friends one summer.  It also became a bonding experience for fathers and sons, including Jon.

Carrying tons of rocks to make raised garden beds in our back yard, weeding the raised beds. cutting down trees, making bonfires, chopping wood, cutting brush to make “tunnels” through the brush where our kids and grandchildren can play.  Hundreds of games of volleyball, capture the flag, and international soccer,  funerals for our animals where we’ve placed little flower bulbs to mark their graves, and quiet hammock times talking and reading;  all memories of our now silent property. But, the coyotes howl and something scatters deer bones, as deer and fox use it as a path to somewhere.

Our guests have been notable in many ways; certainly as friends, some were well-known world figures, or relatives of them.  We’ve had discussion on many subjects around our table: Often they related to faith and deeply held beliefs, usually bonding our friendships in good humor and trust.

A few who sat around our table or on our grass floor mats helped to change history, such as opposition leaders of an Asian country who met in our home writing a petition demanding that a dictator step down, which he did the next day. A notorious activist rested from his Migraine which he said he got from researching and thinking about his “country’s poor”.  One fugitive came to our home bleeding, seeking a night’s sleep before he turned himself in.

I’m sad to leave here, but it’s comforting to know that our home will live on in the minds and memories of people from all over the world,  representing a place of peace to everyone who passed through on their way somewhere.

Colorado Blue Spruce covered in snow

Ella Augustine

6 Responses

  1. wow… great tribute. Enjoyed reading!

    • Thanks, Scott. It’s your family legacy now, too!

  2. What a legacy… and your thoughts now as you get ready for more quiet and solitude remind me of reading, in Joe’s blog as he was dying, of how he wished he had spent less energy and time in his psychology practice, even though it was such a great blessing to so many people…

    • That’s a real compliment, Marcy…that it reminds you of Joe’s blog. I think I remember how much he meant in your life…wish I could read his blog. Is it still up? We’ll see what the future brings. Just got confirmation on Divide as a good place for us from one of Jon and my mentors.

      • I’m touched you remember that. Much of his blog is still up: http://bausermancottage.com/?s=notes+from+the+porch — but the rest is gone, irretrievably as far as my inquiries can tell. The family isn’t interested in even talking about the possibility of making the rest available again. And I haven’t yet found anyone who had downloaded or otherwise archived that later material.

      • Hi Marcy,

        It took a minute for me to remember who Joe was, but it came. He meant so much to you, and I think a connection like that is so rare. I’m going to his blog this afternoon and get to know him and little bit. Thanks for sharing.

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