I have the wonderful opportunity to live in a beautiful setting of mature woods with two streams on both sides of our house. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet and it’s special. I often tell people that it belongs to God. I am just taking care of the place for a while.
When my husband first bought this place, it was all woods. I remember him sitting at the kitchen window many a morning drinking his coffee and just staring out into the back yard filled with trees. I called it his dream chair. Because he had lots of dreams. As time went by, he would tell me what he wanted. First there was a garage. Some trees had to go. A lot of dirt had to be moved because of drainage. And while we had the yard all tore up, we might as well put a pool in..Right? And a deck right? “Sure Honey” I would say.
We no sooner had the grass seeded, garage and pool done, then came the next dream. A horse. Yes a horse. Her name was LaWauka Lightning..aka Wanda. Wanda didn’t have a stable yet, so she stayed in the back of the garage. (It was a very big garage!) Soon came my horse, Star. Do you have an idea of what the next dream will be?
Well, wait a minute! STOP! Marg here was feeling a bit left out. When we started on this journey, I told him that all I really want is a new kitchen and more room to have all these family gatherings we have. So my darling handyman put his dreams on hold for mine. I got my beautiful kitchen and addition. Hickory cabinets, oak flooring and a huge wall of windows to look out into our budding wooded oasis. A promise made is a promise kept.
So then, of course, came the stable for the horses. And a little fenced in paddock. This kept the dreamer happy for a while until one day a man came traipsing through the woods from our back yard and said he was looking to buy the 25 acres of woods around us. THAT wasn’t supposed to be in the dream! So off to the realtor’s office we went to buy it for ourselves. “But it’s a TREE farm Chuck! What are we going to do with all these trees?” I said.
I soon found out. The dreamer now had bigger dreams! We now have enough property to have a garden and a pasture for the horses and a bigger barn for the boat, horse trailer, tractor and hay! So down came 5 acres of trees, my beautiful big trees that I had come to love so much. Our two horses became five! Oh….and a pot belly pig named MaryEllen and a few stray cats along the way.
The sun was starting to shine in on our little piece of heaven. Chuck was nearing retirement age and the goal all along was to have everything paid for and projects completed so that when he retired, he could finally sit back and enjoy all that he had worked so hard for. Time became the ultimate dream.
But time ran out. Three wonderful, worry free days after his last day of work, he died of a heart attack. He was putting stones around one of the oak trees we saved. It was going to be my herb garden. With a bench so that Chuck could while away the hours watching his garden grow and dream some more. I envisioned us sitting there, in our golden years, after a long day of work appreciating what we had accomplished together. I still do…seven years later. I sit on that bench and see what a dream come true looks and feels like.
We can all dream you know. After all…Dreams are free!! But not everyone has what it takes to persevere and make their dreams come true. Chuck did. I admired him so much for that. I am thankful that God at least gave him enough time on this earth to see his dreams come to fruition. But time enjoying them was not in the plan. That’s why I look at that bench as a reminder. A reminder of all the years of hard work, the fun times, the bad times and the worst …. the day the dream ended. But more important is the lesson of this man’s life……
Nothing happens….. but first a dream.
Charles R Skeans II
Lived & Dreamed: April 23,1949 – May 30, 2005