Letter From Home: “Dinner With The Pfaffs” 9/16/11


Four years ago Thursday papers were signed that deeded this home to us.   Just as it was at the time of the signing the weather yesterday was fall-like with abundant sunshine blanketing this house.     

James and I love this place, feel blessed, and know we are truly home.

I have thought about this house built in 1892 more than usual in the past weeks as our neighborhood ponders the wisdom of allowing an older house–one that was constructed in 1889–to be demolished in order to have a new one built. Granted there are no similarities between the two houses except the time span in which they were built, yet I still find linkage.

When the nights get quiet and the neighbor’s lights dim one by one I often look out and wonder what others who stood at these same windows reflected on after the gas lights were turned off over a hundred years ago.  After all, these homes are not just pine wood and blocks of stone.   They are reservoirs of memories and stories.

Real people lived, dreamed, loved, cried, and laughed here.   New life came into the world within these homes, in other cases some took their final breath.  

The anniversary of this date when the home became ours is something that James and I always think about, and feel humbled over. So it seemed fitting that when we heard some of my sister’s in-laws (Ginger Pfaff) were visiting Madison today we should have them to our home.    

James called on Wednesday night and asked if  the group would like to have dinner here.  An affirmative response was given at once. 

With the plans made there were only a few things left to do.

Get a turkey out of the freezer and make an apple spice cake.

As James moved around the kitchen with ease and literally had three projects going at once I pondered about those who cooked here without the electric blender and perfectly plucked turkey.   How many kids were around the kitchen getting in the way, or were playing outside with their voices being carried in through the back door?

The wonderful thing about lots of people around the kitchen table is the array of laughter and conversation  it creates.  With Loren and his wife Kathy, along with Lori and her partner Darlene, and Monica all adding to the atmosphere that surrounds good food, this old house must have felt as alive as James and I did.

For six hours the conversation easily flowed.  Stories were told, laugher followed, potatoes were passed and wine was poured.  Though James and I had never met any of these folks prior to this evening it was soon apparent that we were not strangers.  That is the type of grouping that we like to assemble around our table, and where I feel most comfortable.

By the time dessert was being served (James drizzled home-made crab-apple jelly over the whipped cream that sat atop the pieces of apple cake) it was as if we had known each other for years. 

Had no one any plans for Friday the night could have continued until the wee hours.  But finally with hugs and best wishes the wonderful night concluded.  We will see each other again.

As the lights go off again tonight in the neighborhood I will look out the same window I have stood at before bed over the past four years and gaze upon the homes around me.  Not just pine or stone shall I see, but instead stories lived, knowing countless more are to me made.

If we let them be made.

Refurbishing and renewing these homes are in the best interest of the neighborhood.  

Let us work to save these old homes.

4 thoughts on “Letter From Home: “Dinner With The Pfaffs” 9/16/11

  1. Monica Hale

    For me, it was only the second time this year that conversation about family dynamics trumped Scott Walker, but that’s not the way it should be. We should be focusing on neighborhoods, not hoods like Walker because the damage done to a neighborhood by losing a historic house might not be as prominent now as the damage done by Walker, but its effects will last even longer.

  2. We need to chat about politics….a topic I love!!

    This is what I penned for Facebook about the visit.

    We loved the time we shared and hope this was but the first of other visits together….we both got a kick out of Loren and Kathy as they laugh so easily and are both great with colorful conversation. Monica has the best facial expressions and quick one liners. Lori is a wonderful package of warmth and pleasantness that makes her a nice person to know. She has much to offer. Last, but not least you (Darlene) are just one interesting person, and the stories you can tell makes for smiles and unexpected turns….the bedroom story was a hoot! So many thanks to each of you for the time to get to know us and appreciate us for who we really are.

  3. We had a great time, and enjoyed the fantastic food!! The evening was very delightful!! Hopefully, we can get together again in the near future. It was so easy to talk to you two, and it has been quite a while since I have laughed so hard and so much. The time passed too quickly, and only seemed like a few hours. Your house is beautiful, as is your yard. You two are an enlightening couple that I am glad to call new found friends. Thank you for the memorable evening.

  4. Marion

    Good food and good new friends. It’s a good thing that all close relations are not cut of the same cloth and are fun to be with. Every family has it’s nut jobs with more than a few screws loose or lost. Turkey looks like it could fall off the bone with yummy-ness.

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