My husband, daughter and I were flying high on Saturday night… and it had nothing to do with the wine at dinner. Rather, it was thanks to a young couple we met for the first time that evening, who did us a rather tremendous good deed.
We’d just left the 80th birthday celebration of a dear friend, so we were already in a buoyant mood. And since we already happened to be in the neighbourhood where we used to live, we decided to take a swing past our first house.
To get you up to speed: You need to know that this little house is special. It’s a sweet, modest-sized farmhouse, well over 100 years old, and filled with character and creaking floorboards. My husband and I got married in the living room of this house. My baby girl was born in the back bedroom. And outside in the yard we poured – if not blood – at least a lot of sweat and tears into making the garden our own.
Last year the house changed hands, and we didn’t know anything about the current occupants. But as we cruised close on Saturday, our first impression of the garden we built, and then left behind, was jubilant. When you’re as passionate about digging in the dirt as we are, it’s sheer joy to see these shrubs and perennials well tended and thriving. Do I sound corny? (Did you catch another horticulture reference?)
Then we spotted the young couple who’d taken over this grand estate. They were puttering around outside. I couldn’t resist jumping out of the car and asking if we could take a closer look at the garden.
These lovely people said yes without hesitation.
My husband, daughter and I roamed the yard with delight. We pointed out the rose-of-sharon bush that had started as a two-foot wedding gift and now towers eight feet high. The pussy willow that travelled from my grandmother in a small pot is now full-grown as well. The homeowners were intrigued to know that the tree-branch garden trellis was handmade by my sister. That the back fence had been built with a secret gate so we could visit the friends who lived behind us. That, for a time, a family of skunks regularly frolicked on the back lawn in the moonlight. We answered their questions about the age of the roof, and how to trim the weeping pea shrub.
To top it off, we were given a tour of the house’s interior, complete with its beautiful new distressed-hardwood floors and dream kitchen (want that!). And our baby girl – who just turned twelve – got to see the room where she slept for the first four years of her life. Memories were jogged. “My bed was there,” she said wonderingly, pointing to the far wall.
This little house has always had good karma. You see it from the sidewalk, you step inside and you know it immediately. And I think it attracts kind people. We came away from our first house so gratified to have reconnected with the garden, peeked in the rooms, lusted over the gorgeous kitchen – and made a lovely acquaintance with the current owners. Home sweet home, indeed.