Did you know in a long time ago and a land far away this was a hitching post?
1908 to be exact.
115 years ago people used to pull up to the front of our house (which was the postmaster’s house at the time) and tie up their horses through the ring on top of the pole.
Before the internet.
Before the interstate highway.
Before fast-food restaurants and stirrup pants and the roaring twenties and color televisions and phones that you can carry around in your hand.
Before the sidewalk that I’m standing on.
This hitching post was there.
Somewhere between poodle skirts and high-speed rail…
….we moved into the house.
I remember walking through the empty halls on the day we moved in and seeing the pole outside the front window.
It was a little rusty and full of character with a lifetime of stories.
I asked my mother about it and she explained the history of what it was and what it was used for.
The carriage rides and parties and get-togethers and all the horses and riders that had gone before.
She was all about it.
I was all about it, too.
We’d decorate it for the holidays.
And tie red bows on it.
And festoon it with patriotic ribbons for patriotic holidays.
All those years.
All those celebrations.
The hitching post (and the house) is mine to watch over.
I literally do not even know where to begin this post so I’ll go all Julie Andrews and start at the beginning.
It’s a really good place to start.
We moved away from McKinney (where this hitching post is located) and moved to Kentucky for more than a decade (which is where this blog started). Several years ago we had some stuff happen with our extended family. Stuff that was overwhelming. Stuff that scared us. Stuff that sat us down and had a talk and got all serious on us and told us that we might want to think about being closer to home.
Our family needed us to show up and be counted.
And suddenly, Kentucky was too far away.
So we started talking about moving.
What? US MOVE? That wasn’t in the plan. Kentucky was our forever home. We have a farmhouse and a gatehouse and a business and acres of land and countryside and stars and hay bales and winding country roads.
And for years I wrote a blog about our farmhouse and all that went with it.
I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give it all up.
I put on an apron and asked myself what Laura Ingalls would do if Carrie and Mary and Grace and Ma and Pa needed her.
And so, five years ago, just like Laura—I came home.
This is the home of my childhood.
This is where I grew up.
I have thrown open this backdoor more times than I can even count.
Remember when my mother sold it?
You can read all about moving and my wedding dress and dear Abby and a mirror here.
This is the house where I met my future husband who wasn’t even my boyfriend yet on the back porch.
This is the house where he first kissed me goodnight.
This is the house I stood in front of the bathroom mirror on my wedding day.
This is the house where I brought my children home from the hospital.
This is the house where they stamped their tiny hand prints in the driveway when my mother and father had a new driveway poured.
This is the house where I’ve laughed and loved and giggled and shared more joy than a person should be allowed in a lifetime.
This is my home.
I thought it was lost forever.
I thought I’d never walk the halls again.
I thought I’d never celebrate another Christmas or Thanksgiving or birthday or family breakfast here.
Until five years ago when we needed to move back to Texas and I randomly called up the new owners and asked them if they would sell it.
I did it on a whim. I had no idea what they’d say. I had no idea if they’d even answer the phone.
It wasn’t on the market.
They didn’t really know me and as far as I knew they weren’t planning on selling it.
But I stepped out on faith and dialed the phone.
When the current owner answered the phone, I explained about the house and the hitching post and who I was and told her my story and told her we might be moving back and that I had been in a relationship with that house since add-a-bead necklaces were a thing.
Would she? Could she? Might she be interested in selling it?
And to my surprise.
To my joy.
To my almost-fainting-on-the-phone-at-that-moment….
….she said yes.
CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT?
SHE SAID YES.
And so a new chapter began.
Here in these rooms where it all started.
Here are a few pictures I took the day we bought the house back.
These are the befores.
This is the staircase I stood on and waited for Santa Claus to show up every Christmas morning.
This is the living room where I fought with my sisters and brothers and watched season after season of American Idol.
This is where my children had their first Christmas.
These are the floors where my oldest son took his first steps.
This is the dining room.
This is where I ate breakfast before school every morning.
This is where I celebrated almost every Thanksgiving dinner on the planet.
This is the downstairs bathroom.
This is where I put on my makeup before school.
This is where I stood in my wedding dress on my wedding day.
And this was my father’s office.
I can remember sitting in this room and pouring out my heart to him. I’d tell him the troubles of the world and he’d put down his papers and push his glasses up on top of his nose and lend me a sympathetic ear and a funny story and all the cares of the day would melt away.
When I walk in here now and squint, I can almost see him smile.
His heart is in every corner of this room.
This room is where I write my books and post my posts and share my stories and tell my tales and celebrate all the new chapters of my life (and in super exciting news we are about to completely re-do it in blue and white).
I can’t believe it.
I wish I could type the tears running down my face as I write this post. I wish I could type my joy. I wish could type the mix of emotions tiptoeing across my heart.
But I can’t.
So I’ll say it the only way I know how.
We are home.
And it all started with the hitching post. 🙂
PS I shared all the before pictures in this post in case you missed them the first time around.
We’ve done a little work since then. 🙂
PPS I took this picture in the driveway this morning.
These are one set of the twin’s tiny handprints that they made all those years ago.
Just waiting for us to return. 🙂