Silk Purse or Sow’s Ear

I  feel really lucky that I have a house in the country. For a few reasons.  Of course, it’s lovely to get away from time to time.  But easily, the best thing about having a country house is  that when I’m asked the question, “So, what did you do this weekend?, I have an answer…”I went to the country.”  There’s never a follow up as in, “and what did you do? It seems that just leaving town is actvity enough.  Being a slug in the country isn’t nearly as pathetic as being one in the City.

A few years back, after I had recently bought my house I was in a bar (shocking!) in a nearby  town.  I got into a conversation with the young woman tending bar and after a while she asked me if  I’d like to meet an (older) friend of hers.  I said that I would and within a few weeks I had drinks with Sally, an artist who lived in the area.  After some introductory banter we began exchanging some of our histories.  When I told her where my house was and described it a bit, she looked at me strangely and said very tentatively, “Does your house have a hot tub in the living room?”  And indeed it did!  Apparently, some time in the past, Sally had been to a party at “my house” and may have actually been in that hot tub.  I thought about the person from whom I had bought the house and in that moment, knew Sally and I were not meant to be.

Since then, I’ve transformed the house.  The hot tub area is now an enclosed porch with a beautiful view.  I love to relax on the porch  listening  to music or reading.  Or just sit and look out.  Straight on is a beautiful, perfectly shaped large pear tree that both I and the deer love.  In the late afternoon, I’ll often have a glass of wine or a martini  and sit and wait for them to show up.  There are usually squirrels and chipmunks scurrying about and when the deer  arrive, I feel like I’ve entered a woodland scene from Bambi.  At worst, even if the deer don’t show I’m still happy with my drink and my thoughts. (I’m not sure how I would feel  if the reverse happened…i.e. the deer showed but the vodka didn’t.  Luckily, I have some control over that.)

Although the oldest parts of my house date to the late 1700’s, much of its architectural style was in the nouveau 1960’s tradition.  The prior owner had added addition upon addition culminating with  a hot tub room adjacent to the living room.  As if, that was the perfect place to put it.  The hot tub itself was party size and the walls of the room were covered with floor to ceiling mirrors.  The only thing missing was a disco ball.

Jonathan Swift wrote, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” He was wrong.  By investing a lot of effort and too much money I was able to change my house into a place I love visiting–a “silk purse.”  And even though, as I said,  “being away” is an activity in itself, if I’m ambitious, there’s a choice of other things to do.  I have a favorite bike ride that takes me past a beautiful horse farm  Or I may go down the road and play with some friends at their tennis court.  Or do some work on the barn.  But,  most of the time I don’t do much.

A lot of people give their homes names—you usually see it at the driveway entrance.  “Twin Pines”, “Frog Hollow”…..names like that.  I’ve toyed with the idea of placing a wooden sign at the head of my drive.  “Sow’s Ear” or maybe now, “Silk Purse”.  But that sounds like I’d have to do something.  So….maybe not.




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2 Responses to “Silk Purse or Sow’s Ear”

  1. ed Says:

    Why do I sense that more than the accomplishment of the upgrade, more than the deer, even more than the vodka, the BEST part for you is the out it gives you: There’s never a follow up as in, “and what did you do?” Not having to ask…priceless.

  2. Claudia 1 Says:

    Still trying to get people to visit

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