Some people say home is where the heart is and that a house is just a building. Yet you are a special place, a place that has housed so many years and memories. You have sheltered us for almost 10 years now, you are one of us.

Do you carry the memories as we do? Have your walls absorbed the voices of our past? As I begin to box up my things of years, I look back with fondness, joy, sadness, and exasperation upon my time with you.

You were a large place: drafty and cold in winter; hot and uneven in summer. Your extra girth allowed me to foster my addiction for fostering wayward souls. Taking in so many when they needed, growing my family beyond its blood ties. Seriously, what would life be without Sparkles and Lloyd in it?

Such lovely holidays we shared: Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Happy Stick Day and 4th of July. Special occasions too–birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, births, and engagements. You gave as a place to re-group and focus during difficult times too—unhappy stick day, loss of jobs, strokes, near death experiences and sickness. You were always the center, the meeting place, our tether.

I think of the big things and the little things. Sometimes they pour over me in a rush and others times they trickle in slowly. I remember Bear in elementary school, adjusting so well, earning Citizen of the Month and performing with her violin in 5th grade orchestra. Her many, many friends always jumping on the trampoline. The years of being the Girl Scout “Cookie Momster”, then becoming a leader for her troop. Of teaching catechism and meeting friends along the way.

I see so much of MacDougal’s life reflected in your windows. Touch football, basketball in the driveway, young boy’s so envious of his bond with his father. Growing from young man to adult. High school graduation, illness and rebirth, learning the frailty of human kind and meeting the woman who will become his wife.

Nanny goat’s life whistles through your halls. Love and struggle, a graduation we dreamed of, drama and comedy, of leaving and finding your way home again, engagements, weddings and precious miracle babies.

I see great laughter and joy. I see struggle and sorrow. A moment standing in your front yard with the towering pines above me and my family surrounding me, determined yet desperate with worry about a new baby who clings to life.

You brought us many people. Some who have stayed in our lives and some who have not. You gave us neighbors: crazy ones, druggie ones, angry ones, Canadian ones, toilet papered ones, needy ones and giving ones.

You gave us irony: A Cinco de Mayo which was so horrendous and violent, but eventually led to a Happy Stick Day in which we laughed and laughed at the man swinging at the missing piñata while blindfolded. Days and days of working to get the motorcycles ready for riding, and a day when a motorcycle caused a policeman to almost arrest my innocent son.

Ah so much, much more….but I think I will let the others add. Let this be our tribute to you, house on honey water.

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