Her name is Lila but they call her Mike.
Maybe she was a tomboy. I don't know why she was called Mike all these years in our town, but I do know that somehow we are connected in a very powerful way.
THAT is why she allowed us and only us to purchase 822.
A strange thing particularly about this small town...once a home or business belongs to someone it always carries that name. For example Berry Cleaners has had 4 owners but it has been called Berry Cleaners since I can remember. On Barkley Street, I have lived in Mrs. Collard's House, Miss Berry's House and Major's House.
Our house, this house, is the Hergert House. I wonder occasionally if it will ever bear my name. Perhaps. Maybe that's why she let us live here...because she knew somehow that I would honor her time here. I could change it, but that's the kind of thing I wouldn't want to be responsible for making different.
As I have spent a few seasons here, piddling in her garden, I have come across:
bee hives, statuary, fountains, wind chimes, roses, rocks, spring bulbs, brick walks, borders, bird feeders, gnomes, fire pits and lots of other very fun surprises.
I see her...as I see myself...
..during her early days of living here, during the oil boom, she traveled and when she came home she brought things that meant something to her. Ideas, inspiration and tangible things.
She probably went to the mountains and came home wanting to create a rock bed creek with dappling sun and trickling water. The evidence is here, it has just been covered by years of growth and her inability to get out and do what made her happy in her younger years.
I love to come across her blue crystals and her pink granite and wonder...where did she get it? When she was where she was, was she having a good steak with her husband that she loved and a nice stout scotch on the rocks? Did they make love later and then talk about just where they would place that cardinal whirlygig? Did he roll his eyes--yet come home and unload each and every thing she had picked up and place it just where she asked him?
I would love to send her photos, but I know it would hurt her like it has hurt me, to see the trees cut back and some gone...or to see the front porch is better, but so different. I know in her gruff manner, she would say, "Why the hell did they have to do that?"
But even in her gruffness she would understand...
...that we're doing what we're doing our way...just like she did when it was the Wilmeth House--when she took it over long long ago.. and there came a day that it was finally hers long enough to be called for her name.
I wonder what changes will take place and what things will seem outdated that seem so perfect to me now-- when and if, this old rock house ever is called by my name.