My older son tends to be nonchalant and matter-of-fact. That makes his joke delivery very slick, but sometimes I miss the importance of things he’s spotted. When he was young, maybe 3 years old, we asked him to run to the front of our house during a tremendous downpour. Husband and I were watching the water stream down the corn field, pour through our back yard, and literally wash a large top layer of our gravel driveway down to the stream. We sent him to the front window for a report on the driveway as well. He came back with, “nothing really guys, just a an owl.” Dad and I dashed to the front yard to see a huge owl, soaked to the core, resting just a few feet from our front porch. It was really amazing. Something that would have elicited a “COME HERE! LOOK!” sort of response.
Another time, while hiking at Mesa Verde National Park, he was curious about what was behind the back of a antiquated cement block bathroom near the parking lot. I watched him walk to the end, shrug, and walk back to me. I asked him what he saw, to which he replied, “horses.” “With people,” I questioned. “No,” he responded and kept his path towards the car. I assumed now he was talking about a sign and asked such. Again he responded with no. At that point I was very curious, and I walked around back to see three wild horses! That is something that would have made me gesture wildly towards anyone nearby to hurry over and see.
So, this week when I mentioned I was going to a garage sale (that dear husband had tipped me off to, one where he picked some good stuff earlier in the month) my son casually mentioned he saw a log cabin and he would like it if it was still for sale. A log cabin at a garage sale could be a lot of things, not many good. However, I promised him if I saw it I’d get it for him, wondering what I’d encounter. It turned out he came with anyhow and spotted the log cabin before me. I was not at first impressed by the cabin as it was tipped sideways, broken, and dusty with the small back room section laying out of sight, on the ground, but fortunately in tact. Hmmm. I tried to talk him out of it. I told him it was a big project that we might just want to leave alone. He looked unhappy and my mother guilt made me dig harder at the broken creation. I started realizing the potential here. It looked completely handmade, and when we found the room on the floor I figured with some dusting and hot glue it could be pretty interesting.
Five dollars later, (well more, we bought some other stuff too…), we were in possession of a really dirty, broken, but handmade and one of a kind cabin the now previous owner stated she purchased in South Carolina. We set to work dusting it and cleaning it at home and I started getting more and more excited. This was actually a pretty impressive cabin! Someone hand cut each log and nailed them together one by one. The chimney is grouted, and the furniture looks hand carved. Two days later I set to work with the hot glue to see if I could restore this to the original creator’s vision, hoping to do it justice. Handling it with more care as it cleaned up, I started telling my son this cabin was amazing. Pointing out the hand carved details, tiny nails, and wiring for lights, I suggested we fix it up a bit more. Perhaps I’ll sew a little quilt and some pillows.
I’m thankful for my son’s selective eye and should have trusted his judgement straight away. He saw gold with this little cabin and I’m proud we brought it to fruition together. So now, it’s proudly displayed in the kitchen for all to see. We’ve got some minor roof repairs and details we can add together, but that can happen slowly and evolve over time. I asked my son why he liked it and he shrugged, “I don’t know, it’s just cool.” I should not have expected a different reply from this fella.
This little cabin reminds me of two things. First, it immediately brought back memories of a book I used to read to the boys when they were toddlers entitled Henry Builds a Cabin. Henry (Thoreau – but as a bear) builds a very small cabin. His friends stop by and ask where he will be able to do certain things, like read books or dance, in such a small cabin. Henry always suggests lovely outdoor spaces for said activities. It’s a sweet tale showing the positive features of small spaces. It also makes me remember how sweet it was when we lived in a small space as well, a few years ago. Our family of four, with two dogs, spent 11 months living in a bus. Something I know to which we will return someday because we enjoy traveling and small spaces.
Perhaps one day we’ll live in a little cabin, or my oldest son will. Perhaps he’ll call and say, “I bought a cabin,” in his laid back style. Perhaps not. Today we have a house, some space, and a little handmade cabin in the kitchen atop a cabinet and that’s pretty cool too.