The House That Built Me…

Driving home one evening and I was feeling frustrated after a listing appointment. Because I was sure the clients were serious this time, when they called to have me come over and get their house up on the market.

This happens more than I would like to say… people will call and want me to come out and get their house on the market.  But when I get there, I would feel so much resistance from them that I wonder why they even called me to begin with.  I would feel so frustrated, having taken the time to spend with them, the research and reports I put together prior to viewing the property in order to help with pricing opinion,  and to just know as much about the property as I possibly can in order to do my best job for them.  (Not to mention that this is my career and how I support my family; so that pressure is there too.)….and this was how I was feeling on that drive home….and then the song  “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert came over the radio.

“I know they say you can’t go home again.
I just had to come back one last time.
Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam.
But these hand prints on the front steps are mine.”

Listening to this song made me start thinking that maybe their resistance is more about letting go – not their unwillingness to seriously want to sell their house, but maybe even they didn’t know how difficult it would be emotionally until they saw my car pull into their driveway.

In the rat race of life, you just need a long drive home after a trying day of work – going over in your head whether or not you have been making the right decisions or choices for your own family.

And then something as simple as a song comes on and my thinking goes from “why the hell did they bother to even call me?!” or “I’ve been spinning my wheels all week, am I going to be able to pay my own bills this month?” To …”maybe all they see when they look out their front door is their kids getting off the school bus after their very first day of kindergarten…” or “they thought they were building a life with someone that came apart, and the memories and moments within those walls was all they had left and the only thing keeping them together.”

Or, where I see a beautiful patio or garden that will enhance a showing and help generate a sale, they remember building that together with someone or maybe a beloved pet was laid to rest under one of those hosta.

I have to try to remember that when I am walking into someone’s home, it’s as if I am entering their heart and soul.  It may be whole and filled with joyful memories or it may be broken and torn or it could be both and just still trying to figure things out.

We attach so much emotion to places, I can drive around Medina on any given day and point at certain houses and tell you exactly what happened on a certain day that was a first, or a last, or caused me joy or pain; sometimes I could even tell you what I was wearing and what song was playing.  I know when people who have moved away, come back to town for a visit,  some of our conversations consist of reminiscing of what happened in a house we just past while en route to our destination.

Its small moments like this car ride home, that are slowly sculpting and shaping the type of agent I want to be.  I hope the next time I am feeling frustrated with the pressures of my own life, that this song will resonate in my mind…I’ll take a deep breath…and remember, these are hearts that I am dealing with most of the time…not necessarily houses.

“I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it’s like I’m someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave.
Won’t take nothing but a memory
from the house that built me.”


This is my hometown…

My first love…

A fly fisherman’s home stream could be many things…the river closest to where they live, the river they made their first cast in or caught their first fish in, their favorite river – someplace where they hold a special memory; a place they feel the most themselves.  And people that grow up along any type of water seem to take on characteristics in their personality that only someone living right where they are could develop.  Sometimes I feel like I can even guess what type of body of water a person grew up by if any at all just from one conversation.

I grew up on the Erie Canal….a true Western NY Canal Rat….   I’ve always said Medina has two seasons….when the canal is full and when the canal is empty.  A lot of the stories from my childhood and into adulthood included a tale that took place near or on the canal. From swinging off of a rope into it for the first time, finding my friends Dads beer tied to a rope in the water to keep it cold, and getting drunk for the first time off of one can of beer.  To memories of driving with my friends Dad and uncle in their old bronco…not knowing really how close we were to death, and having the time of our lives!  Bridge jumping, catching crayfish, losing shoes in the mud of the spring just before the canal was filled for the summer.  During the dark moments of my life I turned to the tow path to clear my head or to just get away with a walk or a run, moments alone with my high school sweetheart and afternoon adventures with childhood friends. There was not much about my childhood in Medina that did not revolve around the Erie Canal.

Now, the canal is right in my backyard, I’m on it most nights walking my dogs, watching sunset after sunset over the bridges that connect our community.  Tonight I noticed that even though it was mostly empty, the water that was in it was still flowing, it was still alive, still moving…still making memories.

Even though I will always consider the Oak my home stream… the Erie Canal will always be my first love…my past and my present and always….my home.

This is my hometown

Medina’s 8th Annual Largest Disco!!…

And what a party it was!…Held this past Saturday at Medina’s Sacred Heart Club, just north of the Erie Canal; and I swear every year the costumes get better, the party gets wilder,  and it’s just a fun way to get together in the dead of the winter and boogie off those winter blues. My friends and I love dressing up in costume. It is our firm belief that people are more comfortable being themselves when in costume. And if you don’t believe me, come join us at the 9th Annual Disco in 2019!

“Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart…you just got to poke around…” ~ Grateful Dead

This is my hometown….and that ain’t no jive talk!

*photo cred “JT” Thomas

The Oak, my home stream…

This past July I was working at a credit union and one of our members took 3 of us fly fishing one beautiful, sunny Saturday morning. It was so peaceful stepping into a warm river, putting faith into the theory that bouncing a fly off the top of the water would magically connect you with an underworld being that you never knew existed. Beautiful picture in your head right now right? In reality, I spent most of the morning untangling my line, pulling a hook out of my shirt, and the only fish I caught was about a 2 oz. small mouth.  In other words…I had the time of my life!
It is now February and I have spent the better part of my weekend mornings since then, standing out in 30 degree (F) or below water trying to cast a frozen line. Only to come up with a total of 4 fish…3 small brown trout and a salmon(which will forever go undocumented due to the mishandling of the netter). I have my own pole, vest, neoprene waders, numerous wool socks, a camo backpack, a walking pole, flies, line, strike indicators. I know how to knot, how to attach a leader to a tippet using a swivel, I change up my own flies, I rig my own rod. Along with all of this “field practice” I have been putting in, most of my evenings surfing the web include, fly tying tutorials, videos on casting, articles on reading the stream and knowing where to find the steelhead on a 6 degree (F) day. needless to say…I’ve come a long way baby.

What I did not expect when I first stepped into the water was the intense amount of peace I would feel, this past year on the stream has been a year of healing, my father passed away last spring; we didn’t have a very good relationship for most of my life. I was there with him at the end and tried to be there for him before it, but it was a push and pull relationship for as far back as I can remember. I am not sure what feels worse, losing someone you have always had a good relationship with, or saying goodbye to someone you should know better than anyone else in the world…but barely knew at all. With a family of strong personalities it was very difficult to try and navigate through the wreckage in a way that I needed to do for myself. But stepping into that water was like stepping out of an existance that needed answers into a life completely about the present moment. I felt like I could finally breathe after a year, or… maybe a lifetime of holding my breath. I found something other than fish in the Oak Orchard River that day…I found myself.

This is my hometown…

“At first when I started coming down, I thought I had to pretend to be something else, someone tougher…in order to prove myself. But as time went on, I realized; when I came here, I was more myself than anywhere else…and out there is where I was lost.” ~ KB