By guest Blogger, Dot Read
Dorrie couldn’t sleep. Wind was gusting up to sixty miles per hour across the narrow part of Whidbey Island where she had lived for nearly forty years. She heard branches snap. Something fell on the roof with a thud. She wondered, for the fifty-thousandth time if the house would withstand one of the 150-foot Doug firs falling on it. The shop had taken some hits, but that was another problem to face: whether to demolish Harold’s shop or try to restore it. For the hundred-thousandth time, she wished Harold were still facing these things with her. To round out the sleep snatchers, what if a tree fell on the drain field—or if the drain field just failed on its own—a constant source of anxiety, even when the wind wasn’t whipping tree tops.
She heard a mighty c-r-a-a-a-ck and held her breath until she knew the house had been spared. Dorrie suddenly longed for a nice, tight house on a city sewer line—a house that had neighbors around it instead of gigantic trees, and a manageable yard instead of five acres of perpetual guilt. An idea took root.
By the time her son (the one who lived with her and kept her and the place from falling apart) came downstairs for morning coffee, Dorrie had a plan roughed out. She was very good at making plans. Sometimes not so hot at implementing them, but this one she would pursue to the last detail.
“How would you feel about selling the house?” she asked before the poor man had put the cream in his coffee. His eyes got larger than usual for first thing in the morning.
“Well, I was thinking all night while I waited for a tree to fall on the house, ‘This sucks.’” She usually didn’t say “sucks” but this called for incisive language. “I mean, I’m eighty years old, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life praying trees off the roof and worrying about a drain field.
“You’re serious…” It came out somewhere between a question and a statement of fact. She nodded. “Where would we go?” he asked.
“I was thinking about Boise. You like Boise and your sister is there. It would be good for you to have some back-up if I get old and cantankerous.”
“What do you mean ‘if,’ Mom?” he said.
Dorrie glared at him and then launched her plan. “Here’s the deal….”
It was a good plan, and it came to pass with some notable glitches. These she overcame with the help of her blessed children and grandchildren, her precious sister, her dear friends, a congenial lawyer, and two saintly realtors who put up with her as she played seller and buyer simultaneously. In October she moved into, of all things, a nice, tight house on a Boise sewer line, with neighbors instead of gigantic trees, and a manageable yard. She bought a big red tricycle so she could pedal the six-tenths of a mile to her daughter’s house in style and not fall over.
By the end of November the buying and the selling were happily complete, and Dorrie settled in to plan a fun-filled, worry-free, family-packed Christmas. Of course she was going to have to find the Christmas decorations—somewhere among the fifty or sixty unopened boxes parked in the garage (in place of the cars). And sooner or later she was going to have to remember which direction was home when she ventured out.
She missed her Whidbey friends and her beloved Washington family, and she thought a lot about the years of happy living in the house she’d left. But she knew she was where she belonged, and she was very, very happy.