Dream it, Believe it, Do it!

14 10 2018

I was quite sure Aunt Pearl and I were looking at the same house, but you wouldn’t have Rock _nbeen able to tell that from the expressions on our faces. She had a smile stretched from ear to ear, whereas my look overflowed with, “You gotta be kidding me!” The house she had just bought as our first home in Ohio resembled the kind of place people would set up as a haunted house and charge admission during the Halloween season to scare the bejeebers out of you. It was a large structure set back off the street. The paint was weathered and dingy and the front porch didn’t appear safe enough to set foot on. The chimney on the side of the house looked like it could come down in a second. The back of the house was worse with half the porch collapsed and the roof sagging in the middle. Several windows were broken out and the basement was no more than an oversized root cellar. Throw in a couple dilapidated out buildings, a half dozen creepy looking old trees and you get the vision of the place they shot the TV show the Munster’s, only worse! The inside of this rickety manor wasn’t much better. The floors and walls were dirty with holes and the musty odor made you want to run back outside. Pearl and her husband Price, as we called him, had been working there already. They fixed three rooms livable enough for them, ma and me. The plan was to bring this old lower east side palace back to life while we lived there. And the cost to purchase this fixer-upper from hades? $2,000.

Dear old Pearly Mae could tell I didn’t share the same enthusiasm as her about the house. “Johnny, we’re going to paint the house white with green trim. When we fix the porches, I’ll put lattice on the ends for flowers to grow up. We’ll have a place to sit out in the evening to enjoy. We’ll rebuild the kitchen and it’ll be a biggest you’ve ever seen. The trees and the building will come down so we can plant a garden. We’ll repair the walls and the windows, and the floor will be sanded and stained to bring the hardwood beauty back out. Someday this will be the prettiest house on the block.” I’m sure I stared in amazement as she pointed out all these great renovations she envisioned. As a child I had a pretty vivid imagination, but I was having a hard time seeing the house the way Pearl did. One thing I did know, there was no one more determined than my Aunt Pearl. So, if she said it, that was good enough for me.

It felt like an eternity that we lived in a small portion of that house, but each day Pearl, Price and mom would be busy fixing, rebuilding or cleaning. We didn’t have a car, but there was a lumber yard a half block away and since the project was done little by little, we could walk the needed materials back to the house. A talented man in home improvement named Louie became a good friend and helped with plumbing and wiring. The out buildings came down easily and they hired someone with a big truck to take the debris away; what he didn’t take we burned up on the back side of the lot. All trees except two were cutdown by a man and his sons and they took the wood back to their place for firewood. The backyard was dug up and we planted our first garden; the next year fruit trees and grapevines were added.  Since the sidewalk leading up and around the house was all busted up we poured a new, one small slab at a time. The porches were repaired and beautified; lattice was set in place on the ends and Pearl grew the most beautiful climbing bluebell flowers. The inside took on a new life, from dark and dingy to bright and vibrant. The décor was reminiscent of Rockwell paintings from the Saturday Evening Post. It seemed like the work would never end, but something slowly and wonderfully appeared.

I remember walking home from school one day in the late spring. When I reached our house I stopped and stood there for a moment to take it in. Where an old house that looked like a disaster hit, stood now a beautiful structure white with green trim, large porches complete with swings and lattices on the ends where brilliant blue flowers grew. Around back I could see the black soil we turned by shovel where small green vegetables were growing. Soon it would teem with enough produce to feed us until the next planting season. The house was beautiful; it was the most beautiful home on the block. Then the thought came to me, “I’m finally seeing the house the way Pearl always envisioned it in her dreams and heart, and now in reality.

“When I think of vision, I have in mind the ability to see above and beyond the majority,” Chuck Swindoll.

As I admit I couldn’t see the house the way Pearl did, and no doubt the neighbors had some interesting comments in their homes about the man, two women and a child taking on what looked like a hopeless project. But none of that deterred the vision and commitment held bt the dear lady from West Virginia. Whether or not anyone else believed it she knew what she saw in her heart and she was determined to see it through. Later in years I realized something else about my mentor, she approached her faith in God the same way she did that old house. She saw something from the words in the Bible that gave a vision of what was ahead of her.

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”                                                         Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”                       John 16:33 – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”                                                                                  John 14:3 – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

No one’s doubt was ever going to take away her belief and her dream of someday being with her Lord in Heaven. Words cannot express how grateful I am to share that same belief and dream that Pearly Mae instilled in me.

It been well over fifty years since we moved into that oversized shack and made it into a home I prize in my memory banks to this day. On occasion I’ve returned there just to drive by and remember. The neighborhood has fallen on hard times and the old house is once again an eye sore. But in my heart I still see the beauty that once was there, because of the dream of one “Traveler of the Rock Road.” Pearl lived out her dream there, and now lives it out in Heaven for eternity.

How bout you; where are your dreams and your visions taking you? It’s not too late. Not as long as you have breath; especially when it comes to taking Christ as your Savior. 

As I enjoy quoting one of my favorite authors C.S. Lewis, he had something to say on this subject, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream.”

See ya next time.


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15 10 2018
Beverly Crane

The way you have described this house is so vivid I feel like I have been there. You have had amazing people in your life and you still do!! God has blessed us all.

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