Our new place has inspired me to remember my only prior experience with the country.
When I was growing up, I made frequent visits to Grandma and Grandpa's house. They lived in a town that was much more country-fied that the suburbs of Birmingham. Their grand house, with its dramatically sloping roof and unusual architecture, was nestled into a thickly wooded lot. It was built in 1978. I have a vague memory of being 2 and holding someone's hand as I toddled through the construction area.
Grandma made me "coffeemilk" in the mornings (mostly milk and sugar, with a little coffee) and served it to me in my favorite mug of butterflies and flowers. She would join me, with her stronger coffee, out on the back deck, where we listened to the country wake up and admired the morning sunbeams streaming through the trees.
There was a creek running through their property, only about 3 feet wide at its widest point, and I was always interested in the way that leaves and sticks made little dams at various places, creating that sweet sound of trickling water. A hop across the creek at a strategic point would bring me to a clearing in the woods, marked by an old, rotted tree that had fallen over and opened up its hollowness. I could peer over the sharp bark edge into a weirdly fascinating black abyss of nature and wonder what lived in there.
It was ironic that the name of the neighborhood was Bent Tree Estates.
My legendary black lab, Jude, was buried in a trunk up on top of that hill behind the creek. I remember my dad wiping tears with the back of his hand as he dug the grave.
I have not been back to see that house since my grandparents moved out of it years ago. But there have been times I've wondered what became of it and if it still looks like the 70's. Had the carpet been changed? The walls painted? I daydreamed about walking through it.
Then, not too long ago, I heard this sentimental song by Miranda Lambert. As always, leave it to CMT to take sentimentality to a whole new level. (Of course, the part in the song about the dog buried in the yard kind of got me.)
So after hearing that, and upon moving to a place where the smell of wood decks and the quietness of the morning takes me back to Bent Tree, I turned to google.
The Internet is so weird. Have you noticed? Everything in the world that exists, or has ever existed, is on it somewhere.
I googled "Bent Tree Estates."
I clicked on the first link that came up. A real estate site. A house for sale. A "view slide show" button. 24 pictures.
Then...oh my stars. This was really it. I scrolled through the 24 photos. What are the odds it would turn up on google on the first try?
Yes, the carpet was different. The walls were painted. New architecture on the back of the house completely changed its look from behind. It felt like the facebook vertigo I used to get, when I would find an old friend, a blast from the past, and I would see how much their architecture (their life) had changed, as well. No, I am not referring to plastic surgery.
So my virtual walk through that house satisfied my years of curiosity. And let's all be glad that I didn't even have to go knock on the door and ask someone if I could poke through their house (which, by the way, I am pretty sure I would never do) while singing Miranda Lambert to some poor, befuddled current resident: "Promise I won't take nothin' but a memory...from the house...that built me."
Have you ever thought about doing that? Or have you ever done it? Or if somebody knocked on your door with that unusual request, would you let them in?