‘The Country House’ deserves its own chapter. Right now I wish I were a columnist for Architectural Digest, or an interior design expert, then I would do a much better job of describing this house. But simply put, it’s fabulous.
Klay would say – in his best bougiouse voice: “Well if you MUST grieve, best to grieve in style.”
Andrea would say - in her best bougiouse voice (glass of wine in hand – looking out over yonder): “Ahhh… I’m just so glad there’s a Country House involved.”
My friends are so extra.
But seriously, the house is wonderful. It’s in Hopewell, NJ - farm country. It’s really old and it sits on a hill on about 2 acres of land. It’s an old farm house that has been renovated and turned into a perfect country cottage. It’s stone on the outside and the inside is cedar. The house is light, peaceful and filled with great energy.
And the outdoor space is fabulous also. The front yard is a large open field that slopes downward and is cut off by a perimeter of trees. So if you’re sitting outside on the front patio (which is the absolute best place to sit) all you see are grass, trees and tree-tops as far as the eye can see. And the open sky. It’s majestic.
Oh… and it actually sits adjacent to a farm, so on a good day you can see horses gallop by. Or cows grazing, just off to the right.
Per Andrea: “If ‘Thank You Very Sweet’ were an August Wilson style play, the entire set could be the front patio with a backdrop of the stone house just behind…”
So basically you get the point, the house is classic.
The house belongs to a really cool couple named Pete and Mara. We (Jessie and Me) met them about a year prior. Jessie was representing the women center at a training for Project Homeless Connect. Project Homeless Connect is an annual resource fair for Homeless people in the greater Trenton area; we were planning to have a resource table there. Mara was planning to volunteer at the event, so she was at the training also. She invited Jessie to sit at her table and the two of them hit it off immediately.
Soon after, Mara asked Jessie to house-sit for her. Jessie used to tell me about how comfortable and pleasant the house was, but I was really only half-listening. I had to encounter the house for myself for it to sink in.
I met The Country House one crisp evening in the fall. Jason (Jessie’s boyfriend) had led us on a hike after work. Afterwards the three of us came back to the house so that Jason could cook us dinner. As we drove up the long winding gravel driveway that led to this wonderful house, I was amazed. I fell in love.
I met the owners shortly after that, Pete and Mara. They invited us for dinner. They were interested in the work that we were doing, but more so they were interested in us as people. They were interested in me and Jessie’s special soul friendship… especially Mara. They are empty nesters and Mara seemed interested in re-energizing some of her woman friendships; Jess and I provided some inspiration for that.
Soon we all became friends and I was splitting the house-sitting duties with Jessie. The first time I house-sat I wrote a thank you note. Even though it was a ‘job’, I was so thankful to be there; and the house would grow to become VERY important to me…
When we first learned that we lost funding for the women center, I retreated there alone.
When Jessie and I needed a comfortable place to write grants for the day (an attempt to “Save the Women Center”), we retreated there together.
When we finally had to tell the women center staff that we were going to shut down, the entire staff retreated there.
My last weekend with Kesner was spent there.
We had our last dinner together there. We had our last argument together there. We shared our last reconciliation together there…
And on our last Monday morning together (June 7th), I asked Kesner to pray. He prayed The Lord’s Prayer, and then he said “God please show Kim that I am different.”
And I said: “God please forgive me for being afraid.”
Then we went outside and had a bowl of cereal, Kesner cut up a banana and put it in my bowl. We ate outside on the patio, it was a beautiful day. I watered the flowers in the garden and Kesner watched me. He said: “you’re the sexiest gardener I’ve ever seen.” I laughed. I got ready for work. And as I came down the stairs I saw him laying on his back in the grass with his arms stretched wide like an angel. He was looking at the clear blue sky as if to say: “I surrender.” We kissed goodbye.
And that was the last time that I saw him alive.
So as it was time to grieve.. Appropriately so, my friends and I retreated there.
© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011