As we neared completion on our house renovation, I paused for a moment, remembering. It won't be long now before someone else owns the home that we owned for 27 years, and I'll no longer be able to go inside and think about things. A lot of life was lived in that home. Many many memories came flooding back. I looked up at the chain dangling from the ceiling fan. Still attached to it, was a small piece of tape. Why is this tape here? I wondered. And then it came to me--we used to tape the mistletoe to that chain. I had shared many a smooch with my amazing wife, Ann, under that mistletoe. I gazed at the stairs--there was the place where I had broken down and cried when I was explaining to Rebecca that our cat Ralph had cancer and was going to have to be put to sleep. Looking around that kitchen I remembered fond times when our family made sugar cookies, or when I pulled out the cast iron cookware and made Mountainman breakfast. I thought about my grandchildren coming over and helping me put together some cookies or make scone dough on that counter, and of the kitten we thought we wanted that crawled through a broken part of the baseboard beneath the sink and hid--we had to tear apart the bottom of the cabinet to get it out.
I looked over at our newly remodeled dining area. The new light there and the new floor, the missing table--none of it could dim my memories of the time spent playing board games--Scrabble, Boggle, Clue, Probe and the rest. Or of eating family meals together--ketchup roast, jackpot, to die for blueberry muffins, tacos. Or of Ann and the kids working on art projects together.
The basement brought back memories of writing, guitars, working on the computer, building a bookcase with Ben, cats on the window ledge, and the time when I was lifting weights overhead and felt something on my leg and glanced down to spy a black widow creeping up my bare leg.
I went back up to the main floor and saw the Christmas trees. The piano. The birds in the quakies out the south window, and the magnificent silver maple out front. I saw snowmen in the yard and started whistling Walking in the Air. I envisioned my kids and I playing in the front yard with baseballs and footballs, and playing horse on the driveway.
Further upstairs I looked out the windows for one last time. From the master bedroom, I looked across the church lawn, glad that I could see it, missing the poplars, but not really. I never really liked them anyway. Now, without them I could see my beloved mountains far across the valley. I remembered seeing my fellow church members out there on the lawn for activities---the ward picnic, the stake carnival, young men and young women activities. In the yellow room, I looked down upon the garden, the one that wouldn't grow because of the shade from the poplars, and which now was growing splendidly---the season we leave. It's fitting. I look further and spot Mt. Timpanogos. I've always been thrilled that I can see "Timp" from my house so far away.
I look over at my good neighbor's, the Robbins, house and think about the good people they are, and think about how blessed we have been to have had them as neighbors since the beginning, and also to have the Earls on the other side of us for many of those years. A lot of good memories flood my mind associated with my friends who also happen to be my neighbors.
Memories. So many memories. They say you can't go home again, and perhaps literally that's true. But good kind people, good memories and good times are the fiber of which life is made. Treasure them all. We can go home again.