Farmington, New Hampshire

Lone Star Avenue

My grandparents’ home was the place we called home between the relocations that came along every eighteen months. Sometimes we stayed for a few weeks, sometimes a few months. It was a beautiful in-town Victorian, complete with a walk-in closet full of old coats and a ladder up into the cupola. At one point, it had been a school. The black phone in the front hall was one of three numbers on a party line – ring one. There was an apple cookie jar in the kitchen and a garden gnome in the back yard. Behind the furnace was the door to the bomb shelter/storage for canned goods, a cold war legacy etched in stone and concrete. My grandfather’s workshop stood in the back – a miniature white clapboard house with electricity and a wood stove. More than any other place I lived, this was the home of my childhood.

One of my earliest memories of Lone Star Avenue stands out because I was so very sick. Feverish and unable to keep any food down, my mother and grandmother made a bed for me in the den where they could keep an eye on me day and night – and I could see and hear them. The family doctor made a house call. I remember the coolness of clean sheets and pillowcases, hearing my mother and her mother talk while making dinner, and my grandfather reading stories to me. Awake, half asleep, or deep in slumber, there was always someone who would hear me if I called.

Lone Star Avenue was where I learned that the walls of home won’t keep out all illness or protect me from every harm. It’s also where I learned that love sometimes expresses itself best in fresh linens, storytelling, and a hand to hold when I need it most.

Perhaps that is why Jesus washed and dried the feet of his disciples, spoke in parables, and touched the sick with his own two hands.

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