This is what is commonly called “backstory.” Or maybe it’s just a flashback.
August 20, 2009 – Dave and I are going to move. Not far away but to somewhere completely different from the upper-middle affluence of Brentwood. We’ve been in dialogue for some time with my nearing-80-year-old parents. It’s time for them to leave the farm; there will come a time shortly when they will no longer be able to drive themselves around Chestnut Mound, Dillard’s Creek and Dickens Hollow (say “holler” and you’ll talk like the rest of us…).
Dad retired from the Granville United Methodist Church on Father’s Day this year – but he didn’t quit work. He had already contracted as a substitute teacher at the high school in Carthage. Mom, on the other hand, maintains her position as a bookkeeper at D. T. McCall’s and works four and a half days per week.
So we thought we had some time to look around; we thought we could “stage” this two-story, steep-staired Brentwood home and get it on the market, oh, maybe February. We even rented a storage unit and started moving “extras” out of the house. (You know, of course, “staging” means you have to have an almost empty house save for a few items to show that someone could live in it: I don’t get it, but I’ll do it.)
And when Cry-Leike put the sign in the front yard, we’d start looking for a new home where none of us had to haul creaky bones up a set of steps to bed and where Grandmama and Grandpapa would be “separate but accessible.” We talked about buying a house with enough land to develop a good-sized modular home in the back, maybe even enclose a passageway. None of us wanted to be under any foot, no matter whatever size socks or age of whichever feet. We did not talk too much about finding the new home first, before Mom and Dad quit work, before Di and Dave might sell the house.
God is such a trickster… I mean, “Trickster.” With Her usual supply of surprise, She laid a house in the path in front of us when we got lost on the way home from ThriftSmart. No kidding. My goddaughter, Andie, and I took donations to this ecumenically-run church shop. Andie being home from Ithaca College without a job, she was more than willing to work a few hours a week for us packing up and sorting books, pictures, and the good crystal.
When we left ThriftSmart, both ends of Nolensville Road were blocked by street repairs so we took a turn up Northcrest, a street I’d never driven. After wandering and backtracking and seeing a familiar landmark at the end of one street, we were on our way home when Andie said, “Dinanah, I think I saw a house for sale back there – with an apartment.”
“Really?” I asked. I hadn’t seen it. “Maybe we should turn around and check it out.”
“So where’s the apartment?” I asked.
“There, over that garage.”
How could I have missed it? Huge. It was huge. The house was pretty, but the landscaping unloved and lonely. The sign said nothing about an apartment.
“Maybe the apartment isn’t for sale,” I said. “Let’s just write down this realtor’s number and I’ll call her tonight.”