Monday, July 25, 2016

Where They've Been And What They've Seen

We know someone in Arco who is going to finally do something with the room that we have been using for storage for almost three years now, and that we have long hoped we could eventually turn into a sun room.
He is an ex-Marine.
Although, there is really no ex involved.  
Once a Marine, always a Marine.
He currently owns his own business - making furniture, doing floors and cupboards and counters in primarily high end homes.
We have known this man for a couple of years now, and a few weeks ago talked to him about the sun room.
About installing an arched window and a set of French doors that have been sitting patiently in the breezeway between the house and garage for............a long while now.
About fixing the roof line and walling in a crumbling wall around these new windows so we can actually be able to use this as an actual living space for the first time.
So we can enjoy this room while we put the house up for sale and work on trying to move further up the valley.
Closer to water.  Closer to mountains.  Where my moderately successful business could flourish.
After a short conversation we agreed on some bartering for the labor and we would pay for supplies.
We had the money for supplies, but last weekend I decided to have a yard sale to pay ourselves back some of the money we would have to put out for building supplies.
After talking to one more lady in Arco that I knew, I loaded up my Tahoe last Friday and drove 30 miles to this small desert town that is located at the base of the mountains.
She and I would yard sale together.
I would clean out some of the things we had laying around the house that we no longer needed, I would put some money aside for the construction project and I would spend the day with a lady who I don't know well, but who I have always liked very much..................
I arrived at Cara's house at 7:30, the yard sale started at 8 and I was completely over it by 9.
That always happens when I do these things.
Why do I always forget that?
Why are doing yard sales exactly the same as giving birth?
One minute you're in pain and swearing that you will never do it again, and the next minute you're ready to have another one.
But I was replacing savings one dollar bill at a time and getting rid of boxes of stuff we no longer needed, while enjoying the company of a nice lady, so it was all good.....................
We came very close to buying this little building, until Cara's grown children asked her not to sell it.
What would we do with it?
 Who knows?
Guest house in the yard?  
Cabin on a piece of property?
Some other purpose?
I don't know but I was disappointed to not be able to get my hands on it..................
Part way through the long, hot morning Cara had errands to run.
While I was manning the fort and selling occasional junk to strangers, I wandered around her yard.
It was a very hot and very dry day, and I wandered slowly and aimlessly, bored but also enjoying the quiet morning.
Cara lives in a humble mobile home that sits on a large piece of beautiful ground.
Inside there are pictures of family everywhere you turn, and it is obvious that she has very strong fies with the smiling people who are featured in those framed photos.
Her yard is beautiful - green, filled with flowers, and with beautiful views of both Number Hill and the mountains of the Lost River Range to the north.....................
When I look at Cara now I see an older woman who has a number of physical challenges and health issues.
But at one time this extraordinary woman was a strong and proud Marine.
A woman who joined the Marines in the 1960's.
One of the first women to go through Jump School. 
An MP.
A Military Police Officer who served in Vietnam.
Whenever I see her I am reminded that you just never know what someone's story is.
You don't know where they have been and you don't know what they have seen.
How they spent their lives.    
Their patriotism.  Their sense of duty and service.  Their pride in service.
Cara proudly flies both an American flag and a Marine flag in her front yard, and as I wandered around I stood for a moment and watched these two flags blowing in the strong wind.
Flags reminding me of her service.
Of Capps' service (the man who will install our windows and transform a storage room into an actual, livable, usable room).
 Of LC's service.
And I was reminded of the concern I feel about this upcoming election and the future of our country.
But in that single moment I was also quietly in awe of a woman who is now a little bent over and a little broken, who smiles often, who is kind and giving, and who served her country..................
I did not take pictures of Cara's home out of respect for her privacy, but I spent some time on a hot and boring late morning, walking around her property taking pictures of the beautiful, the whimsical and the interesting...............
Back at the house late in the afternoon on the same too-hot day I unloaded the Tahoe with what remained after I had sold some things and donated some things, walked through the garage, the breezeway and what will be the sun room, and looked out the back door into the back yard.
Looking beyond the palettes that serve as a make shift deck until we can do better, I saw him just as he also saw me.
LC and I had wondered why the water in Korys new little wading pool seemed to drop so quickly.
This young buck finally provided us with the answer.
I stood silently as he drank deeply.
From a little purple wading pool that is providing water for deer, rabbits and birds.
When he was done drinking he stood upright for a minute and cautiously watched me, before turning away from me, trotting over to the back fence and easily jumping it.
I watched as he easily trotted down the grassy alleyway and watched him until he disappeared.......................
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf..........George Orwell

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