Have I mentioned the fact that I live in a mansion? In the acreage out back, there's a helipad, and to the right is a barn. The driveway is lined with shade trees and it's just beautiful. Nah, I don't live in a mansion. I did at one time, in one of the many homes that we've lived in as part of my husband's salary for working on a horse farm. But that's another story for another day. Today's short story was brought on by a memory that I had while driving home under gorgeous skies. About 2 miles from our house, as I was passing the home pictured above I suddenly remembered the times when I'd bring home my son's friends to spend the weekend. You see, because we live so far away from well, from other people, I always had to import friends for my kids. My one son, Shaun, had lots of friends who always wanted to come and stay over our house. They'd visit pretty regularly, from middle school age and on, until they were in high school and had their own cars, and they were still coming. But while they were young, and I was driving them, I remember several instances where I was bringing about 6 of them home in our old Eurovan, and there was always someone in the group who was coming over for the first time. And what I liked to do was to pull into the driveway of this house, and slowly start down the lane, as if we lived there. Before we got there, the kids in the car (read: the kids in the know) would be telling the newcomer that, "yeah, Shaun's house is awesome! You should see it; it's so big. There's even a helipad for their dad's helicopter." And then we'd be slowly driving down this driveway, while the kid's eyes are popping open, and then I'd stop and they'd all start laughing and yell "psych!" Imagine their letdown when we pulled into the real place: Nah. Gotcha again. But we did live here at one point. This is the little temporary house at the entrance to the farm. It's the house that we lived in when my husband first took the job here. We were told at the time that it would be a 3-month deal, as another house would open up by then. Well, when that didn't happen, the owners of the farm decided they needed more housing for their staff, so a new house was built for us. We ended up living in this teeny tiny house for 11 months. We've been in the new house for over 8 years now. It wasn't until we moved here: that we had regular visitors all the time. Shaun's friends were always here, and little did their parents know, but I had them do my housekeeping on Saturdays. The first time my husband came home to find 6 boys sweeping, dusting, cleaning the downstairs bathroom and doing the dishes, he was shocked. "How can you make them do this stuff?" he'd ask. "Easy", I told him. "I ask them to." Maybe it sounds mean to you, but it didn't happen that often, and besides, they were glad to do it. They'd always want to come over, and I'd warn them in advance that cleaning may be involved, but they always had fun, they were fed well, and they always enjoyed playing the mansion card on the unsuspecting newcomer. The boys loved taking the little boat out on the pond, and playing football, and walking in the woods with the dog, and it was nice to have them all here.
I haven't thought about those days in a while, but today, while driving home, I noticed they had put a fence up at the end of the driveway of the mansion house. And I laughed and thought to myself that it was probably to keep crazy people like us from driving down it, pretending that we owned the place!
No Weekend Guessing Game tonight. I'm postponing it until next weekend. Apologies to those who look forward to this, but I've got a lot to do this weekend.