Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How did I get here?

 I used to drive through
this section of town
past the tired houses
covered with grime
a spot of grass
between each home
porches rarely used
as the coal trucks
rumble by

I wondered:
Who would live here?

I grew up
on the other side of the tracks
in a Victorian Lady
with a huge side porch
where my friends and I
would sit
as the boys
drove by

So how did I end up here?
 The old brick ice house crumbling before my eyes
The rental house with bright blue window frames
where the couple ignite the summer air
with a blaze of cuss words

The rusted trucks for sale
 The dump truck full of debris 
 The construction company
whose owner began a spruce up
of his buildings
'til town government got technical
 he shrugged
and left them as is

How did I get here?

I got here because:

I needed a safe place
 in town
where if I screamed
someone would hear
where if my electricity stopped
or the pipes overflowed
someone would come and help
no matter the hour

I needed a place
where my dad could rest
knowing I wasn't out in the woods
at the lake

I screamed one night while living there
scared the black snake in the shed
as much as he scared me
but then--
what bothered me most--
the nightly phone call with hubby
was done
no one would miss me for 10 hours
yet--no one heard me---

on either side
I have caring neighbors
one couple rents
one owns
The one couple have worked hard
since high school
to build their auto body and auto upholstery business
in the back
across from the alley

I barely knew them in high school
this couple with the business
yet I graduated with him

When my basement flooded
they helped me dry the sepia photos
I'd brought here
after Dad died

He has fixed the furnace
the car
the pipes
she recovered my school desk chair
as a surprise

The other couple have a daughter
and two grandsons living with them
he's on disability
he babysits his grandsons
grocery shops and cooks

and  what does he do for me?
he mows my lawn
waters my flowers
and gives my cat his insulin shot
when I'm gone

The list is long
I could go on and on . . .
and on

But what's this really about?
It's not about which side of the tracks
It's not about the crumbling buildings
It's not about the noise or the dirt

It's about the two couples
who have become close friends

It's about a safe place for me
 while husband worked and lived
on the other side
of Ohio

It's about God's wisdom
and our trust in that wisdom

If I scream
the two couples WILL hear
 they WILL come to my aide

And as for the porch?
it has a swing on one side
where at night we don't swallow
the coal trucks' dirt

This is home
for now

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
Proverbs 3:5


  1. This is certainly wonderfully written. People are people no matter what side of the tracks you live on. You'll find wonderful, caring people on both sides. You'll also find the scary ones on both sides.

  2. Hi Beth, We've been out-of-town for about a week--and I'm just now trying to catch up... Love this post. You really do have a message to give in this one... You are right... It's about being SAFE and having FRIENDS nearby who can help if you need it... You are in the right place --for NOW..


  3. is about community and the way we were meant to live...nice one shot.

  4. this leaves a lump in my throat ... and questions

  5. I'm with Susan. You brought tears to my eyes. Beth, this is just beautiful. From the title to the last word, rich with phrase and meaning. I thought you said you weren't poetic ; )

  6. Nice one shot. Love the wordplay and the questions this piece invokes. Love and Light, Sender

  7. You really should have a Kleenex Warning on this post. I can find myself in your words so comfortably like a fitted glove - as one who finds herself where God has placed her - uncomfortable, unwitting, unwilling even - but knowing that all is well and God remains in charge.

    Wonderful one shot!

  8. This is so touching. I can think of so many analogies. I am so moved by the idea that we cannot judge from outward appearance. Think what you would have missed if you had.
    This was so beautifully written. It blesses.

  9. Very good... very insightful... very much a "growing gain" instead of a "growing pain."

  10. ain't a lot of things better than good neighors and a porch swing.

  11. you was just as good the second time around..smiles.

  12. beautiful. I was moved by this post, I have a soft spot for the wrong side of the track.

  13. its better to be safe any day!

    Nice description. Visually strong!

  14. home is where the heart is... and your heart beats so beautifully, beth... i love your compassion, and your eye for his providence. and i LOVE porches and swings. :) thank you so much for linking, friend. xo

  15. Oh I have a story like this! I won't bore you with it here... but anyway, it's so true: people matter ever so much more than location. Thanks for your lovely words reminding me today.

  16. True friendships like yours aren't dependent on economics, locations, or which side of the tracks one lives on. It happens in the heart . . . in the daily-ness of our lives . . . and is unconditional. I really enjoyed this post, Beth!

  17. oh so beautiful! i sometimes wonder if we find better community in these places that aren't so pretty, that sometimes look a little dodgy or rundown. i live in a townhouse complex. it's nicer than some, with good superintendents, a gorgeous woods and a little pool. but still, it's cheap. but the community here has been a precious gift. if i screamed, people would here me, and they would come.

    thank you for your beautiful reminder and celebration of community. :)

  18. Thought provoking and beautifully spoken...thank you for sharing with us....:-)

  19. magnificent.
    and I'm glad you feel safe.
    community is not about appearance, but rather about soul.
    it's hard to remember. I know I forget.


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