Summer was coming to a rapid close, and we were still scrambling to get out of Jackie’s miserable house before another Kentucky winter set in. We explored properties off the mountain, but nothing we saw was feasible.
Then one day, Mike was talking to a man who had a property on the mountain. 60 acres down (another) treacherous, rutted driveway, with an unlivable dilapitated farmhouse and a river! He was willing to do a rent-to-own deal. To add to our joy, he had a (very!) small cabin just down the road that we could live in while we were getting the homestead underway.
A fairly casual contract was drawn up and we quickly rehomed our large livestock and moved in.
In lieu of rent for the cabin, there were repairs to be made. This place was a dump. Mike had to redo all the plumbing and the sleeping arrangements were not ideal. The kitchen was very long and narrow, with a huge table in the middle, which necessitated sidling past the chairs to get from the stove to the sink. It was put together by the owner’s son, Toby. According to his brother, Toby was “a real good builder.” Alas, Toby was nothing of the sort.
Being the stubborn family that we are, we hunkered down and started working to try to make this all work. The boys set up a semi-permanent camp on the property and got to work on it. We made do in the cabin. It was dry and not moldy, and we had heat and hot water with a tub/shower, so we were content enough.
Unfortunately, our kind benefactor had a serious illness and passed away a few months later. Prior to his passing, he had reiterated that he wished for us to continue working towards our 60-acre homestead on a rent-to-own basis.
Doubly unfortunately, his widow was a hateful, bitter shrew and his sons were illiterate, violent alcoholics and drug addicts.
A few weeks after Harold passed, Mike walked down the street to give Sharon the property payment. When he came back, he sat down next to me on the porch, took my hand, and said, “Sharon said they needed the money from the property fast, so she sold it outright to someone else for cash. And, we need to move.”
Such heartbreak! I sobbed my heart out, not only for our shattered dreams, but for the fact that we had to find a new place to live after only three months! I honestly don’t know how we made it through those couple of years on that mountain. I know it aged me greatly. So much heartache and deprivation in such a short period of time. Yet none of us would trade that experience for the world. We learned so much about ourselves and what we wanted out of life, of our perseverance, and how we can face anything when we are supported by people who love us.
Our next move was akin to the scene in Dr. Zhivago, when he and Lara stop at the abandoned, once luxurious mansion, which is now decrepit and succumbing to the elements…