I love old houses. Pictures of homes, old neighborhoods, farmhouses... I sit and stare at them and think about how the day the last board was set, the pride the owner must have had, and the people who inhabited them. Not a day goes by that I don't feel the soul of this old house we're living in. I've spent a little too much time thinking about the lives that have lived here and what went on in these rooms.
The day before we were leaving for our big family vacation, the house was a disaster and I was running around, trying get things organized for the trip. I heard the dog bark and I saw a man walking through the yard.
Aw great, somebody's here.
There's a tight County Commissioner campaign going on here, and I assumed it was a politician asking for our vote. I was a total mess with a baby on my hip and okay fine, I wasn't wearing a bra. I asked my husband to deal with the matter, so he stepped outside to talk to the fella.
He was out there for a while, and I noticed two other women, and then I saw them taking pictures. I thought maybe they were with the historical society or something and decided to put on a bra and head out there.
Too late. My husband came in the house. Expressionless, he said "Oh, it was some lady... her Great Grandfather built the place."
WHA? I was silent. I just looked at him, hoping he was joking.
"She's from Belgium. She has a pillow that her Grandma made with a picture of the house on it."
Oh my GAD, are you SERIOUS?
He was serious.
Well did they want to come in? Has she been here before? Did she speak English? Did she tell you about her grandparents? How long is she in town? Who was she with? Did she show you the pillow? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?
I ran out to snag them before they left, but they were already gone.
And then I think I actually felt a tiny piece of my heart crumble.
The moral of this story is: When you get up in the morning put on a bra, tidy up, and answer the door when someone drops by. Usually when a stranger comes a knockin' they're kind of a pest, asking me to buy something, or vote for them, or fix their car. I never would have imagined I'd miss out on such an extraordinary visitor.
And to the poor Belgian woman whose ancestors built the Gustave Lanz house in Scott County MN: I'm so sorry you traveled across the world and paid a visit to a monument of your family's history and weren't invited in. Feel free to contact me via this blog or my Etsy shop. I would love to chat with you!