Stephenson Tales


View from the waterThe first year I taught at the National Music Camp, we rented a little house at the end of the road from Keith and Tommie Harvey. Every day Lucy Chase would swim in Duck Lake--going south along the shore for about half a mile or more and then swim back. As she moved through the water she noticed this big white house on the top of the bank, just a little way before the public access to the lake. Several times, on shore, she went down to look at it. Being the enterprising lady that she was, she found that it was in the hands of the Traverse City State Bank-that the former owner had died the previous October and that the bank wanted to sell it--along with the property in the package--the lot next door, the one with the garage across the street, and two other lots which backed up against the State Park line on Park Lane. Her grandmother on her father's side had left her a sizeable legacy--so with that and one hundred dollars of our own money we suddenly had a house! The first time we went in to look at it with the children, in the kitchen was what used to be called a "dry sink" which was not a sink at all, but a long table which was covered with zinc and several drawers--one a deep bin for flour. There was not much else in the house-a portrait of the Harpers which, apparently, none of the survivors wanted, a big wardrobe, two huge chairs, a love seat, oak dining room table, and a map book from the 1800s. When we went in to the kitchen, Lucy Chase opened one of the drawers in the big table--and there, much to her surprise was a mama mouse and about five little pink pups, nestled in some paper and cloth scraps. She called for the children to come and look-which they all did. Lucy Chase shut the drawer and they went on to explore the rest of the house. She suddenly thought, "HEY! This is OUR HOUSE and I do not want a family of mice to share it with us!" So when they got back down to the kitchen, she opened the drawer--it was quite empty. That mama mouse had realized that she was not alone and had taken her pups to a safer place. Needless to say, we did get rid of them later--but we were all impressed at how fast she had removed her brood from the prying eyes of these intruders.

© Jim Bob Stephenson 1992.

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