Friday, December 24, 2010

Pink Hats 19: Together

"I's sorry to disappoint you, Ladies, but ah don' know no John Denver lullabies 'r anythin' else. He is or he was, ah should say, mighty fine, but all ah know is good ole Gospel, so thas' what you gonna get. It's eye-ronic fer him to die flyin' and you two pert near doin' likewise. Maybe there's somethin' in dat, but t'ain't fer me ta figure. Tha' Lord, he knows dese kinda tings and I leave 'm in his capable hands. Meantime, les' try us some Amazin' Grace."

Of course, little did they know, the Saturday morning while Bob and Jessie were driving to New Hampshire for her father's birthday, their foster father had sung in one church choir or another, most of his life. Halley was raised attending what is called in New England, a United Baptist Church, affiliated with the American Baptist Convention. Baptist history is a like a stew made with a little bit of everything in the spice cabinet thrown in for good measure. English Baptists were the first to actually use the name, but once they got to the New World, all hell broke loose, as Bob would say. What was once a fairly unified body ended up with more branches than Medusa's head.

Ted was a Baptist, too, but as tends not to be the case in most predominantly White Baptist Churches, Halley discovered worship in a Black congregation meant hand-clapping, amen-shouting, and a minister who preached while pacing back and forth, only stopping when it was time to pray and go home. She liked faith being treated as though it was something worth getting excited about for a change and fit in nicely.

Jessie and Bob left early, having decided to take the scenic route west along route 4, the Old Portland Road, through Sanford and the Berwicks, over the state line to Concord. They had just pulled into a parking space in front of the Donut Hole Cafe in East Buxton for refills and homemade pastries, when Bob said, "I've been thinking about living space. Mine. Yours. Now the twins'. Mine wasn't a house built with a family in mind and neither was your apartment. Mine would do short-term, but honestly, I haven't felt 'at home' there for years."

She looked over at him as if pondering whether to finally tell him the truth, there really was a Santa Claus and she'd met him personally, or to keep him guessing. Finally, she said, "Let's get some coffee. I want you to see something."

A few minutes later, she directed him down a long road in the  direction of Salmon Falls on the Buxton side of the Saco River. "Drive slowly," she said, "the property," indicating the corner of a cedar-rail fence line, "there, that's it." She pointed to a large white two-story Cape Cod with an attached barn at the crest of a long, well-kept grassy slope. He slowed the Escape to a stop and she said with a deep, longing sigh, "Isn't it beautiful? I've adored this place for years. I saw it the first time while taking a drive in the country the week after we met."

"Beautiful is right. Is this all there is? The house, barn, and the field we passed?"

"Oh, no, there's a total of 90 acres, most of it pasture that includes, are you ready for this? A cross-country course -- you said you wanted horses again. And there's a grandmother's cottage, two more smaller barns, and almost a mile of river bank." Her voice got higher as she became more animated. "It was built in 1779 and has four bedrooms -- three upstairs including the master, one over the barn -- a great room, a library, a huge kitchen, and three fireplaces, one of which is in the master bedroom. And it has a garden."

He gave her an amused look and said, "You missed your calling. You should have become a realtor."

"Don't get me started. I love old historic houses, but it wasn't until I saw this one that --"

" -- you knew you'd found your dream home." At the unspoken question on her face, he said, "It's your expression, describing it. You've already got your name on the mailbox." He smiled at her and asked, "I don't see a sign, is it on the market?"

"It is," she said, slowly, "but it's not inexpensive." She told him the asking price and he suggested calling Monday for an appointment to see the interior.

"You aren't concerned about the cost?"

"Not that much. I never touched my weekend salary; I put all of it away thinking someday I may want to move or fund college education for the children I didn't have. The house in Stroudwater is paid for, so it should bring a healthy sum. Off hand, I'd say there's enough to set aside money for the twins, two or three more, and still make a substantial down payment."

"And even with my student loans, together we could make the monthly." Together, she thought, that has a lovely ring to it.

"Together," he said, reflectively. "Mm, that has a nice sound to it. Maybe we should talk about that, too, sometime?"

"Oh-kay," she said, a smile slowly forming at the corners of her mouth.

(Photo by the author, copyright 2010, all rights reserved)
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