Monday, July 20, 2009

Of Dreams and Tennis Courts

Another country town had its annual town-wide yard sales, so Tom and I traveled miles of country roads (roads and skies exactly like those old Captain Kangaroo countryside farm videos), to step upon acres and acres of yards belonging to 1800's farmhouses. I probably missed scads of good stuff placed upon tables because with amazing 70 degree breezes upon my face, I stared at the tall, old houses and their barns until I had them memorized and could carry away ideas for my own yard, too.

Here is something I bought for a dollar, something which conjures up the old days:

And while we drove to more yard sales at more farmhouses, that sign behind me made me long for a tennis court of our own. There's a country house near us, bungalow style, which has an old clay tennis court set-off behind it, surrounded by trees and a tall, rusty 'cage'. Always, that place charms me, instantly flashing images of white-clad folks in the 1940's batting tennis balls over the net. I always think, "What a great place to have a bed-and-breakfast inn." Then I sigh a happy sigh, everytime, on our way to the little market in the next town. And Tom and I usually proceed to wish aloud for a tennis court in our back meadow and we sigh some more and say how cool that would be. And how expensive.

Anyway. We ate lunch at an outdoor rummage sale at a church, circa 1830, on a (normally) quiet hilltop, across from an old white school, and overlooking acres of fields below. And finally, a few more sales later, we grew tired and drove home.

And when I unloaded the tennis court sign from the car,I still craved our own tennis court, even though Tom and I only played tennis one time, when we were first married, and ended the game in a huge argument. (Hence why we've never played again, although 30 years later, the problem would not be potential arguments, but most likely, the fact that we're out-of-shape.) But if we had a tennis court, I reasoned, the overnight guests I'm still seeing inside my head could play.

I stood outside with the sign, facing the barn, wondering if we could hang it there, when the idea hit me. I ran inside to tell Tom about my sudden vision.

"Hey Tom! I know how we can have a tennis court for free!"

"For free?" Tom asked, looking rather doubtful.

"Well, we'd have to buy a net and posts--maybe we could get them at a yard sale, even."

"How could we get a court for free?"

"Well, you know how we're going to have blacktop poured in front of the barn? Well, we could have the guys sink in two post-receivers, or whatever you call them, coming out from the center barn doors. That's a pretty large space out there and I think it would be big enough for a court!"

He smiled. Thought that was a cute idea. He said instead of arena football, we could have arena tennis." (I asked what that meant, and he said arena football is held on a smaller-scale field. Heh.)

Of course, a tennis court wouldn't actually be free-free, but hey. We're going to have the blacktop poured anyway. A net across it and maybe a few painted lines here and there would be like an added bonus for almost nothing.

Dreams. They're exciting. Even if they never come to fruition, still, it's fun playing with ideas inside your head. Remember my Secret Garden behind our barn? Well, that's a dream on-hold. I started it but currently, it's a weedy mess. One thing I'm learning on this small farm is to see--not individual projects standing alone--but rather, all together. I mean, if the only thing on my plate was a Secret Garden, well, I could have half-completed it by now. But alas, there were the borders to put around the flower beds beside our house. And the borders around the main garden. And all the lawns to mow and the house to paint and decorate and the orchard trees to fertilize and water. And there's the dream of a museum in our barn loft and the never-ending housework and --

Well, you know. So I'm learning to crave balance. To think and work one flower bed at a time, till it's completion--but-- to remember all the other flower beds and gardens and house projects... and not carry home more projects than I can complete in a summer (or a winter, etc.). And to remember that dreams with God's approval happen, as long as I do things His way. Otherwise, I'll feel so overwhelmed that I'll just sink down in front of the tv and wish it would all evaporate away.

Trust me, I know that feeling... and I'm learning how to make that feeling go away, instead.


I loved that adorable little wicker stool at the top of this. It was perhaps my favorite find this weekend, next to the tennis sign, of course. Isn't it sweet?


Lora said...

Your post made me think of a time...many years ago....In the mid 1960's....Our family stayed at this wonderful place on 4th lake in the Adirondacks. My Uncle's boss was kind enough to "loan" it to us a week. It was a big sprawling mansion type camp (3 floors, an outdoor bathroom, a beach house for changing into our swimsuits!) But it was very neglected and hadn't seen visitors for many years. In the bramble there was this old tennis court. The weeds were encroaching the perimeter and the old rusty fence surrounding it was a sorry mess.I was too young to ponder the nostalgic elements of the whole place (only about 7 years old at the time) but what I wouldn't give to go back there now!

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like a wonderful day Debra.
I really want to see pictures of those farmhouses.

Lisa said...

I really love the way you paint a picture in my mind. What a creative solution to the tennis court dream!

Love your thrifty finds and the day just sounds so perfect.

I just read the post below, too, and I agree with you. I think that sort of judgment is what keeps some people from even trying to do things that would be good. The right thing to do is the right thing to do, right? The environment benefits from the right thing even if it is a fad (and God bless the people who started the fad, right?) and it seems someone truly interested in the environment would be glad people were buying "green" no matter what their motives are.

Ok...didn't mean to do the same thing in your comments that she did on her blog but that is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me from reading many blogs even when they're about other things that I really enjoy.

But you are always inspiring. :)

Donetta said...

That Mission and goal setting that is within our reason and piece by piece accomplished. Even if it is only within the confines of our minds. :)
me too