The House By the Side of the Road


Nan York


March 7, 1974
Lament of the Owner of THE HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD

“Give me a house by the side of the road
So I can watch the race of men go by”

… Or was it men race by … I am impressed not by quality… but by quantity… not by self-sacrifice… but by selfishness… not by kindness… but by greed.

I indeed have this HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. In my mind’s youth it was a 2-story white frame house with rustic fence nestled among tall trees & graced by a winding country road.  In reality, it is a red brick cape cod style on ½ acre of ground fronting on a 4 lane city street which handles about 12,000 autos daily,  on their undying drive TO GO. A stark change to the romanticism of youth brought about by gruff travelers who, when in need, turn almost animalistic in their desire to be served. Granted, a few have come to our door in need and yet with human warmth, but the vast majority of the wayfarers are selfish…

Our door is open. We believe in Christian Charity…to give without any thought of recompense… but, to be stepped upon and overwhelmed by the ‘needy’ is more than the stout heart can bear.

SITUATION:  Three children under the age of 6 and 2 Labrador Retrievers reside here.  Morning is rather hectic.  Husband has gone to work.  Two cars collide outside and need to phone police.  Instantaneously the NEEDY PERSON rings the door bell… children and dogs converge upon the door… children to open it… and dogs to escape … and AMAZINGLY, the NEEDY PERSON enters the house because he/she MUST call police.  To my utter shock, the NEEDY PERSON is irked when I ask same to wait until I corral everyone and explain to kin and canine that someone wants to use the phone.

SITUATION:  Our female Labrador Retriever had pups and, I guess because we had a sign on the front yard that read: BLK LAB RET PUPS FOR SALE, (telephone number) people thought we were selling whatever it was THEY wanted to buy that was in our yard!  We sold our pups, but all the while the people stopped… and in their blind desire to buy… having seen a FOR SALE sign and not seeing WHAT was for sale.  They wanted our house, our fence, our canoe, and our firewood. Ironically, no one wanted our crabgrass, our overgrown garden and the hedges whose installer I curse,  in unladylike fashion, whenever I trim them. And if that were not enough …the seeker is put out when I tell them, as nicely as I can, almost apologetically, that the item they wanted is not for sale… or maybe he/she feels a little foolish?  What I would really like to do is install a sign that simply says: ‘NOTHING IS FOR SALE.’  But alas, that probably won’t hinder their quest TO BUY.  They’ll probably still stop, and this time, I’ll have a recourse:

“What is for sale?”

“What does the sign read?”

“Nothing is for sale.”

“Well, that’s about right, nothing is for sale.”

However, I did say that I believed in Christian Charity, and that would be stretching the ideal a bit.

SITUATION:  The final straw that breaks the camel’s back are the animal murderers… what else could you call them?  To hit an animal and stop to render assistance is something I have yet to see… Instead, they speed along the street to let the poor creature alone in its misery.  (Mind you, there’s a school zone out in front of the house, 25 mph, with the normal speed limit at 35mph, but few make the effort.)  The icing on the cake was today when another killer deposited his prey 20’ into my front yard and left me to inform the owner of the demise of the dog.

I love my HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, but the array of humanity that travel upon the road leaves me to wonder about the fate of humanity in the future.

Written @ 49 years ago and transcribed in 2023 so that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to read the typed word, rather than cursive.

Image by George Sales from Pixabay