Spring in Colorado may take a bit longer to arrive, but its perfection makes every extra day worth its weight in gold. And working in the yard delightfully distracts me from all the other things I need to be doing.
Yesterday as I was clearing leftover leaves from my garden, I came across a torn piece of paper towel in the mulch, which brought back vivid memories of a little old house with vintage charm that I once knew …
Once upon a time, long, long ago, when life was carefree and butterflies danced in the air to fairy tale music, MacGyver and Wry bought their very first little house. They had a very little budget with MacGyver continuing his education and only Wry working, so they wanted a very little house that needed a very, very big amount of work to be done so that they could get a very, very good buy. After all, they were quite handy, and they had quite kind and generous, able-bodied and skilled parents to help with the fixing up.
This little old 1927 Tudor Revival style house was in a little old neighborhood called White City, named after a dairy farm with white buildings long ago. It had been on the market for months as its condition looked so rough that most
sane buyers kept on driving once they saw it.
A little old widow had lived in the house who clearly wasn’t able to handle the upkeep.
But Wry asked MacGyver to turn the car around and take another look. She saw past the overgrown yard, the leaning white picket fence (for after all, it had a picket fence), the old blinds falling apart in the windows (after all, the windows were perfectly shaped and had wooden panes). She saw past the swamp cooler falling off the side of a rotted window (for the window was surround by beautiful ivy) and she even overlooked the leaning detached garage (since after all, it was a garage).
Wry knew this little old house could be something grand. And that “a good deal” could quite assuredly be had. It was destined to shine like the gem it once was.
Its bones were beautiful, with arches in almost every room and golden oak floors begging to be set free from the weight of their fifty-year old sweater of carpet. But this little gem also had very old electrical wiring, very old fixtures and a funky old swamp cooler that Wry and MacGyer didn’t dare try to revive.
Its green, flat wool carpet with swirl designs also had holes that had been burnt in a circle in a spot in the living room where clearly the little old widow or her late husband had smoked carelessly in what was probably a little old chair. But most importantly for this little tale, this little old house had very old plumbing.
What the little old widow lacked in home maintenance skills, she made up for tenfold with her love and care of her flowers. The long and cracked driveway was flanked by a thick wall of pink Crepe Myrtles on one side and a flower bed the length of the whole little house on the other side. The flower bed was brimming with peonies, luscious lilies, cheery patches of daisies, mounds and mounds of pink Sweet William, even some flowers called Naked Ladies and gorgeous roses of all variety.
Wry knew little of flowers and was thrilled that this garden that brought a smile to her face each time she drove up the long cracked driveway seemed to flourish all on its own.
She never thought about why the flowers did so well or just how fertile that ground must have been. Until, that is, she began finding a little old scrap or two of paper near the beautiful rose bushes day after day. And it seemed peculiar to her that they kept appearing right outside the window of the quaint little bathroom with little bitty, checkerboard black and white tiles that made her heart sing.
Fearing the worst, MacGyver asked Wry to go inside and flush the toilet (which was surrounded by the little black and white tiles that she loved to see). He crawled under the little old house in the dingy, damp crawlspace and waited anxiously for the flush. Then a scream was heard and their fears were realized. MacGyver escaped the dark crawlspace unharmed, but quite wet and sad.
MacGyver and Wry learned that the little old sewer pipes of this little old house were made of a fibrous material which a grand inventor thought a good idea at the time of their invention. These pipes, called Orangeburg, were later found to completely disintegrate over time and their use was discontinued long before this fairy tale began.
So, the mystery of how all those little flowers grew so very well along the side of the little old house with the picket fence and wooden pane windows had been solved. The soil was the richest in the land, indeed.
After much toil and trouble, the little old sewer line that ran from that cute little bathroom with the little bitty black and white tiles all the way under the long cracked driveway and past the pink Crepe Mrytles was anew. Wry and MacGyver lived there happily ever after until years later when they outgrew their little old house. By then the garage and picket fence stood proudly upright, the golden oak floors gleamed, and the little black and white tiles, even with a crack or two, remained perfectly in tact.
And the moral to the story? Never underestimate the unpolished and the unrefined. It’s often worth a second look. With a little love, a lot of labor, and a square or two of toilet paper, it just might bring you years of joy and little old memories.