A return to follow-ups
Around Street Fair time in early September, my sister Karin brought her kids to visit us for the first time. It was great to see all of them again, and we spent a couple days together. The second day they all came to our house for a little r&r. Isaac is 7 years old and asked to ride with me to our house. As we pulled in the driveway he let out a little gasp and asked, "Is this your house? Is this where you live?" I assured him it was and he replied, "It's really junky."
Wow. Of course my sister was embarrassed and I was laughing, but Isaac wasn't lying. Kids that age don't lie about stuff like that. They say to our faces what we as adults have learned to keep to ourselves, or worse yet, say behind people's back. And his opinion was that our house was ugly. Karin tried to explain to him that not everyone's house would look the same as his. (They live in a newer housing development in Columbus, Ohio. While each house has it's own unique character, they are surrounded by hundreds of very similar cookie-cutter houses.) So, compared to where he lived, our house (and property) was junky. The paint is peeling, the siding is loose, the roof is slate, my old VW is in the driveway, there are stacks of firewood everywhere, the lawn wasn't cut, and on and on. He was simply stating our house was not as nice as the ones he was used to seeing. And he wasn't wrong for saying it.
As I mentioned, we all know kids will say the things that we adults will only think (or gossip) about. So my house is junky. I get that. Ell and I have chosen to live a certain way that's not always pretty. There will always be wood laying in our yard. The house will always look old and worn out. There will always be a menagerie of chairs and seats on the porch. A garden will always be center stage in the landscaping. And those things aren't always pretty. They aren't neat or well kept. Ell would like it to be a little nicer looking, but she's not willing to sacrifice our lifestyle for the alternative. So that's how it is. But Isaac's remarks got me thinking. Does everybody we entertain think our house is junky?
To be honest, I thought our house was junky the first time I saw it too. When we pulled in the driveway with our realtor, the view from the outside was bad. But when we went inside, I fell in love with the charm of the logs. The same thing that happens with everybody who comes inside our house. They love it. It'd beautiful and rustic all at the same time. Ell's decorating style is exciting and bizarre. People want to touch the logs and lounge on the couches. Every single person that spends more than an hour in our home says the same thing, "I feel so comfortable here. It's so comfy." I like that. Ell likes that. It means our house is inviting and friendly and warm. What it doesn't mean is the outside is any of those things. The outside is still ugly.
So my thoughts that day drifted to what people must think when they pull into our driveway and get their first view of the house. Appalachian hicks probably comes to mind. Rednecks maybe? Slobs? Possibly. I've never cared too much what people think, and this doesn't change that. But it did make me ponder. From the mouth of a 7 year old............