Today the wind chime on our front porch gained a new member … let me explain.
It’s been about a year since we purchased this house. We are the second owners. During our initial open house visit I noticed and remarked to the real estate agent about the wheelchair ramp from the garage to the main floor. He told us that the wife of the couple that had this house built had contracted ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and that the ramp was constructed for her. If you are not familiar with ALS, it is not like cancer where you might be given a 20%, 80%, or 50% chance of survival. If you are diagnosed with ALS, there is no “Get well soon,” it is a death sentence. But in my experience it is also a testament to the strength of character to those who have contracted it and a testament of their faith.
It was some time later that I noticed the wind chime at the end of our front porch contained a tag with the inscription, “In Loving Memory, Nancy, 1948-2016.
I have lost two dear friends to ALS; Marvin, a former boss (but more importantly a dear friend), and Aaron, also a dear friend and co-worker at Concordia Publishing House. One of my daughter’s mused that the wind chime was rather melancholy, I disagreed, though I wondered why the prior owner had left something so personal behind. Was it just forgotten, was it just too painful to take, or did he believe it belonged to the house? I’m am going to go with the latter.
If houses can be attributed to being masculine or feminine, this house would be feminine, not in a froo-froo sort of way but rather; traditional, warm, inviting, and comforting. The plans came from a southern architect, William Poole. The front porch runs the width of the house supported by white columns The wind chime plays it’s 6-note symphonies at the end of that porch. I never met Nancy, but I can imagine her picking out those house plans and insisting that this was the way it was to be built.
A stiff breeze sets the wind chime in motion. I can hear it at night, lying in bed. It makes me smile because I think of Nancy, who I never knew, but will always be connected to through this home, and I think of Marvin and Aaron who I knew well and will continue to treasure their friendship and love. It’s melodies are not melancholy, but warm reminders that our relationships are the stuff of real importance.
Today there is another name added to that list when the wind chime sings it’s song of memories of those friends whom ALS has ushered into heaven.
Sail on, Ray Karasek, sail on!