As the sun set on the west side of our house, the lavender shadows crept over the east side of the front porch where the swing was hanging. That made it the perfect place to sit and sip iced lemonade, watch the hummingbirds attack the four o’clocks, and have a conversation with a stranger.
It wasn’t unusual for a stranger to stop on the highway that ran in front of our home and take a picture of our old Queen Anne house. It happened regularly. But for one to actually come up to the house and ask permission to snap a picture was definitely unusual. This man had done just that and I scampered into the house to get Mom.
When mom came to the porch so did all the other people in the house. My brother Louis laid aside the book he was reading and slouched out to the porch. John came barreling down the front steps and slid to a stop on the porch. Donald and Milton left the Chinese Checkers game and hustled out to find out what was going on.
The man politely asked mom about taking pictures of the house and told us his story and why his interest was so great.
He often passed by this house and had always been fascinated by it. He thought it was because of its location on top of a small hill, but at any rate, he felt a pull toward it each time he passed. It was at this time Mom noticed a woman still in the vehicle parked at the side of the highway and asked the man who he had with him. He replied, “That’s my wife.”
Mom told him to bring his wife up to the porch for some lemonade and then we would hear the rest of his story. The man waved to his wife to come on up and she joined us on the porch.
When everyone was settled, the man looked mom right in the eye and said, “You are going to think I’m crazy when I tell you this, but I want you to know why I want to buy your house.”
He looked at his wife and got a tiny nod from her and then began his very short story.
“You see,” he said, “my wife and I have been married for 20 years and have no children. But for the last five years, I have had a recurring dream of a house on a hill and my wife and I live there and we have two small sons.”
The man then proceeded to tell us the exact floor plan of the house in his dreams and the exact location of the upstairs bedroom where his two sons slept. He could have had no idea that as he was telling this dream to us there were two little boys, exactly as described, lying asleep in the very room he dreamed of in this house. They were my sons, Kevin and Kent.
Mom hated to tell him, but the house wasn’t for sale and wouldn’t be in the near future. Then the man drew a handkerchief from a pocket, wiped his eyes and looked at his wife and quietly passed the hanky to her. He looked back at mom and said, “We are on vacation and just happened to see this house and my wife thought I was crazy when I stomped on the brakes and yelled, that’s it! This is the house of my dreams. It seems to me that if we could live here we would get those boys we want. You see, my wife is 35 and I’m 42 so we don’t have a lot of time left to have children.”
Mom looked the man right in the eye and told him she understood why he might wish to own her house but it wasn’t going to happen.
After more visiting, the man left his contact information and went on his way. We never heard from him again and it would be another 18 years before my mom died and the house was put up for sale.
My grandmother used to tell me, “If wishes were fishes we could all have a fry.” And that is what I thought of as that man and woman walked away from the house that day.
Sometimes even yet as I remember those golden days of a lavender shaded porch, tall glasses of cool drink, and conversations with people passing by, I think of this stranger and wonder, did he and his wife ever get their children? Will I ever know the answer to that question?