The blue ranch was surrounded by two acres of lush green grass and in the distance, as far as you could see, was farm land. The days were filled with the noises of tractors buzzing while the evenings were quiet with only the noise of the wind blowing through the fields. The blue ranch was a cozy three bedroom home. It was filled with mismatched furniture and had brown fluffy carpet throughout. When you walked through the front door you immediately entered the living room where your eyes were drawn to the large photograph that covered the entire wall. It was a nature scene, and it always fascinated me. I would look at the picture and it would draw me in to a world far away. My mother took the picture, which always made it very special for me. Everywhere we went my mother carried her most prize possession, her camera. She had a gift, it was a gift I don’t believe she ever seen in herself but I saw it. When she would develop her pictures and they magically appeared on the paper, it was breathtaking. The light was just right; the scene, perfection. Even portraits of people would draw you in; the way the light caressed them in such a way that made them seem magical. Her photography will always be my special memory of living in the blue house. Over the years I have run across only two other people who could create the magic my mother did in a photograph. When I look at their art it warms my heart more than they know and more than I could ever express in words.
I loved this house for other reasons, too. Even with the mismatch furniture, everywhere, I went in the house I was comfortable and felt safe. In the family room there was a brown couch that wrapped around the room, a television, an electric fireplace and beautiful French doors leading out onto a deck that ran the length of the house. In the summer the sunlight would come through the doors and warm the room. I used to stand in front of the door and let the sun’s warmth hit me and run through my body. I used to think it was giving me some superhero power. In the winter it was the electric fireplace that warmed the room. The fireplace wasn’t anything special but I thought we were the coolest family around because we had one.
My bedroom was my secret hide-out. I was a tom-boy in dresses. I ran through the fields, climbed into ditches, road four wheelers, shot b-b guns before graduating to shot guns when my mother wasn’t around. I got up every morning an hour before I had to just so I could get comfy on the couch and watch GI Joe. Yes, I loved GI Joe. I had all the action figures. What about Barbies? I played with Barbies too. I would cut all their hair off, which would make my mother so mad. (Now as I am a mother I realize toys are expensive and mutilating them doesn’t please me either.) I would take my Barbies and dismember their body parts into a pile and pretend my GI Joes blew them up! (I laugh at this now, because in today’s society I would have been seen as crazy.) My brother, who was two years older than me, didn’t find my love of GI Joe very cool. That was likely because keeping me away from his toys was very hard and when I would take them into my room the chances of his finding them again was slim to none. My room looked like a bomb went off! It was a mess. When I say mess, I mean MESS! The floor was covered in toys and the only way to get to the bed without stepping on them was a small pathway I kept clear only so my parents could manage to tuck me in without breaking their necks.
These day’s children seem to be so engulfed in electronics they rarely make their way outside to play but not when I was a child. We were outside all the time. My father would mow the two acres in horizontal lines so that I could play gym class in the back yard while listening to my tape cassette player. We had a playhouse that my father built for me and my brother, but I probably only used it once. Wasps liked to live there and I was deathly afraid of them. During the summer I would lay out my slip and slide and go at it for hours, only stopping when my mother forced me to. Oh if I only had that energy now. I also loved to ride my sweet Strawberry Shortcake bicycle around. I would get on that bike and ride around the streets for hours. We lived in the last house on a dead end street, which was nice because you could always play in the street and in the ditches because we were the only house on that road. No one ever drove down the street. Well, I suppose that isn’t completely true, because once in a while late at night some fool would come barreling down the street and hit the railing at the end that said ‘Dead End’, completely drunk.
My home was a loving home, and as you’ve probably already guessed, a noisy one. I loved my blue ranch home and probably at that time I thought I would never leave. Unfortunately, the day came when we had to move because my mother got a really good job in another state. It was a sad day, pulling out of the gravel driveway, hearing the crunching noises the tires made while it rolled over the stones for the last time. The moment seemed to last forever as I pressed my face against the car window as we drove further away, thinking it would make this moment last just a little longer. When we moved I left a piece of myself at that house.
The blue ranch is no longer there. The houses in that area are all gone. When the airport was built the military purchased all the land and uses it as a training area. I still, on occasion, visit the spot where my blue ranch house once sat and reminisce about all the wonderful things I did there and that picture that once hung on the living room wall.