If you were so inclined one day to take a boat ride, and decided to take that boat ride on the reservoir which was down the hill and across the road from the old man’s land, looking up you’d see his large white house sitting way up on top. The area I’m talking about didn’t really have mountains. It had hills. Fairly consistent rolling hills that held his driveway, some small cottages and buildings and the house. Now remember this, you’d have to take a real boat ride on the reservoir – you couldn’t just get in the boat for a short trip. You’d have to take that boat towards the middle of the reservoir, towards the island, to see the big white house. But once you got there though, it’d be worth it because that big white house looked beautiful up there. It really looked fantastic – almost as if someone had built that house there simply for the view from the reservoir. Which is strange because…
The reservoir across the street actually came after the house was built. Same with the road. The house was that old and had a history all its own. I could tell you that story too, but that would force me to spend more time writing and writing isn’t something I really have time for these days. I do it simply to get things off my chest. I do it because it makes me feel better.
Now, say you took the boat back to shore and crossed the road, you’d find yourself standing at the bottom of his driveway. It was a steep driveway – really steep. Far too steep to be safe driving down in the snow, which is why I always wondered why it even existed. Why it was used. But let’s forget about how steep the driveway was for a minute. It’s not important. Because I’m going to describe what was up the driveway and on top of the hill. That holds more importance.
If you started to head up the driveway on the right, just a few feet up, you’d see a small blue and white striped booth. Almost as if the property was once used for concerts or something and that booth was used for someone to sit inside and take tickets. Or perhaps it was used as a guard station. I’m not sure.
Anyway, if you continued up the driveway, which was quite long, over the crest and looked to the right, you’d see an old white shed. This wasn’t a typical old shed that you and I might use to store gardening tools. This shed was about fifty or sixty feet long and was set back off the drive, into the grass and under a beautiful canopy of trees that created a wood line. The whole entire face of the shed was wide open too. And from what I saw when I was a kid when we used to pass by this long old shed, was that it was chock full of rusty old machines. There was a lot of steel in that shed, so much steel in fact, that I wondered what it was all used for. Again, there seemed to be machines – machines that took care of some important business. To this day, I still don’t know what all those rusty old machines did. And I’m not sure that me knowing what these machines were for makes one bit of difference either.
At this point, lets say that if you wanted to see the big white house, it wouldn’t be a problem – you could. It wouldn’t be difficult at all, because by the time you reached the shed, you were on top of the hill. You could easily walk towards the shed, stand right in front of it and turn around. Of course you’d have to peek through the cluster of huge old pine trees, but you could still see the house. And if you walked about a hundred or so paces towards the house, you’d be able to get a full view of it. The house was beautiful and the closer you got to it, the better it looked. And the more you looked around from your vantage point at the house, across the large lawn and down the hill and towards the reservoir, the view was even more impressive.
I always thought this part was funny. I don’t know why. I just thought it was funny because it seemed so official. And I’m not sure where the old man got the sign from – maybe he had to buy it from the town, but a bit further up the drive was a sign that read, “Keep Right.” It just seemed out of place is all. But since the paved roads were narrow and there was really no way two cars could pass by each other, it was probably a good idea people followed the suggestion.
Now, for the sake of brevity, I’m going to give you a quick rundown on what was past that “Keep Right” sign and what was further back on the property. These remaining buildings don’t have much to do with anything so I’ll gloss over them simply to give you an overall view.
Directly behind the sign was one of the small two level cottages. The old man liked to rent out his cottages as apartments. He was crafty and he didn’t like to see anything sitting idly. Because of this, he would place ads in the local paper to entice a single twenty something to come and rent a place on his estate. They would fall for his old German charm, quickly hand over a few month’s rent, only to discover later that the cottage wasn’t the place for them. Rentals didn’t last more than a few years at the most. The cottages were simply too small.
They were charming though. If you decided to put the tiny size of each cottage out of your mind for just a moment or two, you’d be delighted with the bright white paint and the blue shutters. If, by some chance, you had a child, you’d also be delighted by the small playground consisting of some monkey bars and a swing that was situated right under another big pine tree. Again, it’s unfortunate that no one could possibly take the rentals seriously because I’m sure the kids loved them.
If you were to make your way about thirty yards farther, past the first cottage and past the tiny playground, you would see two more cottages directly in front of you, one directly to the left of you and an old factory type building even further to the left. You wouldn’t think the two cottages in the front were really cottages at all, if you want to split hairs. What the old man did, was he turned some older buildings into rental units to make more money. And to entice the prospective tenant, the old man kept them in line with his theme of white with blue shutters. But we’re not splitting hairs here and for the sake of my story, we’ll continue to call those two buildings cottages. At least that’s what I’d like to do.
Now, regarding the factory type buildings to the left. They really are another story for another time and I’m almost sorry I even mentioned them. I really am, but since I did, I’ll say that it was done to simply give you a sense of what’s going on. But keep them in mind though, because those old factory buildings may still play a small part in this story yet.
It’s almost over, so try to hang in there with me. Okay. So, if you decided to continue on past those factory buildings to the left and even past those two last rental units at the end of the driveway, you’d see the narrow pavement turn ever so slightly to the left. That’s where it ended. The pavement that is. The road turned into dirt and led to a rather large parking area for all the tenants to park. A dirt parking area, of course. This is also the area my father used to store his trucks and this was the launching pad for the explorations my brother and I used to enjoy so much.
And how we enjoyed those explorations.