From the Parsonage...
Although I’m really tired of winter and cold
weather, I must admit that the spring rains make me a
little nervous. Each year, I watch the weather reports
and the river levels in March to see if I need to worry
about the chance that the Little MiamiRiver will flood.
And with the amount of rain we’ve had lately,I get pretty tense just thinking about it.
See, some of my most favorite memories center around a turn of the century cottage located in a private park on the banks of the Little Miami! In the stress of today’s world, everybody needs a refuge, a place
to escape the problems that surround us on a daily basis, a place to regain the innocence of childhood. For me, that’s all tied up in a green and white cottage called “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
The cottage first became part of our family back in 1994 when
we were looking for a place to relax on the weekends and decided that
the Smokies were just too far to travel on a regular basis. At first, it was
a novelty, and we only spent a day or weekend here and there during the summer. Then came the spring Flood of 1997 and 5 feet of water on the first floor! That whole summer was spent tearing out carpet, repairing
damage, painting everything, and replacing furniture and appliances. Not much of a refuge that year!
But the grandkids came along after that, and the cottage became a magical place! In our little community, time seemed to have stood still in the 1950’s. People sat on the front porches calling greetings to neighbors, while children rode bikes and played in the park. Moms visited from house to house while the older kids watched out for the young ones, and the men generally showed up at dinner time. It was an opportunity for my
grandchildren to experience the same type of growing up that I had, and we definitely took advantage of it.
After several years of bike rides, afternoon swims, slides, swings, Wednesday potlucks, and night time lightening bug hunts, the grandkids are almost grown up and don’t spend much time there anymore. But the memories remain, and the lure of the place is still strong. Strong enough, in fact, to survive the work necessary to come back from another spring flood a couple of years ago.
Now, the cottage is a refuge again, at least, as long as the rains stay away. And, who knows, one of these days, there may be a whole new generation of grandkids to make memories there!
“for he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons,
satisfying your hearts with food and gladness …”