© Another Day in the Country
Yesterday there were 24 pillows on the living room floor in Cousin’s Corner. An era of the big white house on the corner of 4th and D Sts. being a bed and breakfast is no more. The house is empty, waiting for new inhabitants, and new life.
Meanwhile the six beds, each graced by four pillows, are all gone and what is left is this heap of feathers.
“Anyone need pillows?” we ask.
We almost beg. Anyone need beds and mattresses? And now the furniture, the rugs, the beds and pictures on the walls are all gone, except for the last of the pillows.
This house was bought and kept for twenty years as a refuge for our family — a place big enough for all of us to come for family reunions, a place to hold the memories.
A weekend or so ago, we had cousins and cousin’s kids going thru, taking things off the walls for repurposing at their own homes. It comforted me to think that the deer antlers, the wooden fish, the Christmas tree that stayed up all year round with hunting memorabilia on it, and Billy the singing Bass would have a new home.
My grandson, born long after Billy’s popular reign, was intrigued and a little mystified by a singing fish, “Don’t worry, be happy,” the automated fish sang.
Dagfinnr knew the song of course, but not in this context. I, on the other hand, needed to hear the song over and over as furniture exited the front door — never to return.
This dismantling of guest houses is the Great Diaspora, the great disbursement with more yet to go.
There are so many memories in the house. I remember the first family reunion after we’d gotten Cousin’s Corner and we worked frantically to get the house habitable with Tooltime Tim working after hours to get the new bathroom functioning.
Meanwhile, Uncle Hank paced around the outside worrying that all the relatives would arrive and find no bathroom here, necessitating them coming to his house and taxing his antique plumbing.
Cousin Keith helped us hang wallpaper in the rooms we called Hunter’s Haven and the the other room we jokingly called The Struebing Suite because it had two beds.
Cousin Becky helped us paint and stencil that room as we told stories we heard from our mother’s about stenciling their bedroom in the old farm house west of Ramona — how Anna was supposed to be cleaning the stencils off with newspaper and a rag, before they were repositioned and instead she would get caught up reading the newspaper.
There was the story about Uncle Hank helping Grandma with putting up wallpaper and meanwhile grandma and grandpa got into an argument about whether something was straight, and Hank is standing there with wet wallpaper eventually ripping and dripping down his upright arms.
After the house was looking good, Keith and Micah went around taking videos to document our progress and suddenly we heard banging and yelling from the bathroom.
Jessica had gotten locked in the bathroom downstairs and there were no locks on the door. It took us awhile to get her out — some piece of trim had slipped? Jamming the door. She was sure that Lydia, the previous occupant of the house, was mad at us for changing things and took out her anger by locking her in the bathroom. (Did I say that Lydia was deceased?)
We took down the snake skin on the door into the basement along with the sign that said “Private. There’s a guard snake in the basement.”
We blessed the house for holding so much fun, so many happy memories, so many loving people — some relatives; but mostly just new people we met as we welcomed them to the Ramona experience. It was all a lot of work but so memorable.
I thought I’d cry as the furniture exited; but we were too busy to mourn. Mostly I did my grieving when we decided to put it on the market, so our exit was not as traumatic as I at first feared it would be.
It’s another day in the country, I’m bone weary, stiff in every joint; and grateful that we can clear the way for something new to happen on the corner of 4th and D. Anybody need pillows?