The porch here at Second Chance Ranch is on the west side of the house. I walked out the front door yesterday as the sun was going down, flopping on the steps and looking around at the familiar scene.
Our truck is parked in the yard right now, the driveway occupied by Ernie and a dumpster. Overhead a pair of mature maples rustled in the light breeze. At this Golden Hour warm light from the setting sun filtered through the leaves.
There wasn’t much traffic on the street. From my perch on the front steps, 25 yards back from the curb, I could see 11 other houses, two city parks and a firehouse.
Our family has called this mid-century Ohio neighborhood home for over a dozen years. When we moved here it was, as we like to say, “Mayberry” — full of American tradition, easy charm and long-time residents, reliably old-school. As the world turned around us, however, so did the old neighborhood. It’s not what it was, and it didn’t take long to change.
This time next month we’ll be back in The Ozarks, where we’re building a humble home on The Mountain. When the house is finished it, too, will have a front porch that faces west. Many times already Deb and I have set up our chairs on the spot where that porch will be — y’know what we see?
Oaks and cedars rising against an unobstructed sky. No city streets and no houses, no manicured park and no fire station. It’s not Mayberry, but Mayberry is a 15-minute drive away.
The difference between those two front-porch views illustrates the change we’re making. We’re choosing to leave one life behind in favor of another.
We’re going where we belong.
One year ago today we made a relatively short drive under fair skies. We stopped for southern cookin’ at Lambert’s and had hot dinner rolls throwed at us. And when we shut Ernie’s big diesel down in Harrison, Arkansas, we found peace we’d left behind.
That was a clue. This was The Ozarks.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.