Our home is situated on the south side of one mountain. It is not a very high mountain, but it is still a great workout to hike to spots that offer a scenic view.
One of those scenic views overlooks the river, and bridges. One is a stone railroad bridge that was built early 1900’s, but it still functions with several working tracks even.
On the way to our house you would follow the river along a main road. Once you turn off the road onto our street, our house is only ½ mile up. Although it dead ends at the top of the mountain, there is still a fair amount of traffic coming and going.
We are still kind of new in this neighborhood. It is only our third winter here. This summer several other houses were sold, and we are trying to get acquainted with our neighbors. Many of the houses that were sold (including ours) are very old, somewhat neglected, and in need of repair.
One such home is the beautiful 2 story brick house at the intersection of our street and the main road. I think it was sold soon after we moved in here. You couldn’t help but notice activity going on, because it sits right there at the stop sign as you wait to turn onto the main road. And again, you can’t miss it as you slow down to turn off the main road onto the street.
I would excitedly watch the old house take on a whole new look as the transformation began. I would drive slowly by and watch as they dragged out old plaster, debris, and carpet. I don’t think they gutted it, but they removed a lot.
I was happy as they replaced the windows, and was celebrating as they put in new doors and a fresh coat of paint on the porch. Dignity was being restored to this tired old house. I was almost envious to see it coming along so nicely at such a quick pace, as we struggled to make just one improvement at a time. It seemed like theirs was all fixed up and beautiful in no time.
When winter came and the daylight hours decreased, with all the lights on I could easily see inside as I drove by. There are a lot of windows, and no curtains were hung at that time. I could see the painting, the new cabinets, and the work being done on the inside as well as the outside.
In the spring they cleaned up the yard and trimmed some of the shrubs.
I’m not too crazy about their landscaping efforts. They just put down landscape cloth with mulch on top. There were few large rocks placed here and there in their fresh mulch bed (can’t really call it a flower bed, as they forgot to plant flowers). With a house like that, I envision a flowerbed alive with color and beauty along the foundation.
Other than the landscaping, they’ve done a wonderful job. I’ve enjoyed watching the phases.
One day early in June I was turning off the main road and, as usual, glanced over at the brick house. Something different caught my eye.
Just outside the gate of the wrought iron fence, was a boy. He was checking the mail and happened to look up as I was driving by. We made brief eye contact and I could tell he was watching as I drove by in my dark green Toyota Tacoma.
I don’t remember having seen him before. With him standing there, it seemed he was a teen maybe 13 or 14. Seeing him instantly caused me to think of my own son.
Mentally I made comparisons between this boy and my own. Who is taller? Which one is bigger? This boy seemed a little thicker, as of the last picture, my son was skinny. I wondered if my son goes out to check the mail too. How often? What color is their mailbox?
Every day I drive by their Big Red Mailbox at the end of my street. Almost secretly I hope to see the boy. I think it’s because he is a trigger for me. Not that I needed any more triggers in my life than I already have which cause me to think about my son. After all, I don’t think a day has gone by without me thinking of him. But somehow, seeing this boy gives some flesh and life to a ghost of a dream that I hold onto.
I noticed a for sale sign in their front yard last week. Although I don’t even know him, it makes my heart a little sad to think of this boy leaving. Maybe it is sad to me because he will be gone without me ever getting a chance to know anything about him. I don’t even know his name. I will never know this kid down the street. But when I drive by their Big Red Mailbox; I have feelings of hopefulness and wishing.
There is the definite sense of longing to someday know the mystery boy in my life. No I’m not referring to the kid who lives down the street, but to the mystery boy in my own life and in my heart, my son. Sigh … I desperately long for the day when I will see him face to face. I wait for a day when I can look into dark brown eyes, which are a mirror image of my own.
I, close my eyes to imagine what it will sound like just to hear his voice. That longing, that hope, that dream, all of that is what is going on inside of me each time I see their Big Red Mailbox.