Land Spreading Out So Far and Wide

We’ve lived in our house with a For Sale sign in the front yard longer than we’ve lived without it. Yesterday we finally sold the thing, albeit not before getting dunned for a ridiculous neighborhood boondoggle, which I’ve already informed one HOA officer I fully intend to come back and egg once it’s completed. It’s the only way I see myself getting my money’s worth.

But back to the house, which isn’t ours any more, though we live in it for one more month via a rent-back deal with the new owner. He’s an attorney, which gave me a queasy feeling, but he proved to be a decent enough fellow at the closing. We like the house very much, with its swimming pool and rounded castle walls. But somehow we settled on the conclusion that we aren’t going to be the family who lives in a house like that amidst meticulously edged and fertilized lawns. The new owners will be that family, and I’m sure they’ll be just fine, and the neighborhood gossips can now breathe a sigh of relief.

As for us, we’ve found a house on twenty wooded acres north of the city. It has a creek running through it, and a pond, and a basketball court, and the boys are beside themselves. There’s also a garage/barn-type structure that is apparently a mechanic’s dream, though all I noticed is that it has a corner office which will serve nicely as my writing haven. We’ve traded suburban for rural, and mortgage for mortgage, and somehow we’re becoming country people, which when I say it makes me conjure Nellie Olsen’s mocking voice.

Now there’s just the small matter of moving our houseful of stuff without divorcing one another or accidentally leaving behind one of the children.

I wrote about the potential move a while back at World on the Web, and faithful reader Coneen Brace was so excited for us that she went to my Amazon Wishlist and sent me Frederick Buechner’s The Sacred Journey, along with an album by the Hackensaw Boys: “Love What You Do.”

I wanted to take the latter as a sign from God that I should quit right now and just work on the books I’ve been writing, but the Wife noted that it doesn’t rightly count as a burning bush if I picked out the album myself and put it on my own Wishlist. Plus there’s that new land to pay for, and the baby needs new shoes, and when you get right down to it, women are far more practical, as a general rule, which is why more of us aren’t starving. But the point is, thank you Coneen, for both your generosity and your optimism, because there’s a good many people who know me better, and who are taking private bets about what will do me in first, a chainsaw or an overturned tractor.

And you people know who you are.

So it’s off to the country in the next few weeks. Fresh air (allergies). Clean country living (well water). Nature in all her splendor (poison ivy, snakes, the frogs my sons keep capturing). Man in his natural element (real men, anyway). Praise the Lord, and God help us.


  1. JD

    “He’s an attorney, which gave me a queasy feeling, but he proved to be a decent enough fellow at the closing.”

    I might have to start taking this personally, Tony. I know you’re aware that Jesus is referred to as Counselor and Advocate multiple times in the Good Book. Attorneys can and do bring a lot of good by their services. Attorney-ism is a calling, too. Your poor children are going to grow up with this awful stereotype attached to some (perhaps only a few) genuinely decent and well-meaning (when they aren’t sinning) people.

  2. Tom

    So, what will you name the new homestead?
    ‘Green Acres’?…’The Woodlief Hermitage’?…’Author’s Acres’?…’Funny Farm’?…’Pulitzer Pastures’?…’Tara’?

  3. Lyn

    Yay! I’m so glad for you! Your boys will love it. Really. We only have 3 acres but we are surrounded by empty ones (well, minus a few cows here and there) and my boys never want to move again. It almost makes giving up high speed internet worth it… ;0)

    ROFLOL on the boy getting your nipple. We co-sleep and youngest tried to latch on to dh’s nose a week or so ago. Dh wanted to know if his face looked like….well, you know…

  4. Carl

    Had twenty acres one time. Still miss it. Answered a lot of questions about myself while living there. Blessedly most of the answers are affirming. Hope your residence is as enriching for you and yours.
    Read Kipling’s “An Habitation Enforced”. It captures the relationship of a country man with his estate and his neighbors.

  5. David Andersen

    I predict you will find satisfaction and truth never before imagined. That, anyway, is my hope.

  6. debbie

    Tony, This is wonderful news. I am so happy for you and Celeste and the boys. First thing! Don’t forget the chickens. It will be a great project for the boys and the whole family will benefit from the proceeds. If you would like, I can send you chicken coop instructions.It is not a bad idea to let them run free some since they eat bugs and worms.This really helps in the springtime.(I mean the chickens, not the boys)
    Let them run free too but no bugs.
    I love you guys and am so excited for you.You know the drill, big hugs and sloppy kisses for all. Love, Debbie

  7. Tony

    Your points are well-taken, though I’ll note that Lucifer stands as the great Accuser, and while God was the initial Law-giver, it was Satan who proferred the first legal opinion, in the form of: “Did God really say…”

    Still, it’s not fair to paint all lawyers with the same brush. It’s the 95% of them, after all, who give the other 5% a bad name. And did I mention that some of my best friends are lawyers?

    I feel silly saying so, but we’re leaning toward “Hickory Shores,” which is the fictional setting of a novel I’m working on. Now I just need to plant some hickory trees by the creek to make it come true. And finish the novel.

    Carl, thanks for the Kipling reference; I’ll get hold of a copy.

    Debbie, we’re not getting chickens unless you come visit and show us how to keep the raccoons and snakes away.

  8. mojo

    I think I am going to be living my youth again through your upcoming posts. I grew up in the country (on a farm) and it was the best childhood a person could hope for. Start thinking about building a wooden raft and finding some pirates garb for the “pond excursions.” And let the boys find a corner of the barn that they can call their own and hide away all their new found treasures. Oh, and don’t forget that a country home must have a dog . . . a large dog . . . preferably a german shepherd dog (very intelligent and they love children and are protective of them.) Okay, I’ll stop now. I am really happy for you! Don’t forget to keep us informed of all the boys new adventures!

  9. MMM

    I accuse myself of envy.
    A home like the one you speak of has always been my fondest wish, but right now that vision is not as clear as yours.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled for you. I hope one day I can come visit and see your little slice of heaven. What a joy for your wild tribe!

    And I have an even better name for it.
    Wild Woodliefs. 😉

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