By Wendy Gooditis
Here comes the time of year when we really count up our blessings, and hopefully find we have a cornucopia of gifts for which to feel thankful. For many of us, our homes are a meaningful part of that bounty—places in which we rest and feel safe, and which we make into comfortable havens for ourselves. They shelter us physically, as from weather, certainly, but they shelter many of us emotionally as well. For me, the gratitude extends to our four-footed family, though the complacent creatures obviously feel the house, barns, and grounds belong to them as much as they do to us.
This poem by Robert Louis Stevenson captures this lighter side of thankfulness and home. I have a feeling it describes many houses in Clarke County!
My House, I Say
My house, I say. But hark to the sunny doves
That make my roof the arena of their loves,
That gyre about the gable all day long
And fill the chimneys with their murmurous song:
Our house, they say; and mine, the cat declares
And spreads his golden fleece upon the chairs;
And mine the dog, and rises stiff with wrath
If any alien foot profane the path.
So, too, the buck that trimmed my terraces,
Our whilom gardener, called the garden his;
Who now, deposed, surveys my plain abode
And his late kingdom, only from the road.
Let this humbling verse remind us that we are not the all-powerful beings we suppose. The smallest mouse fails to recognize our supreme right to occupy space, and insists on sharing it with us. Maybe we should question our righteous feeling about these structures we call home, on these plots of land we claim for our own. Maybe we should examine how it is that we are fortunate enough to occupy these places, while others are not so lucky.
The month of November contains symbolism which seems to apply to the concept of home. First of all, the holiday of Thanksgiving brings many feelings of gratitude and thoughts of the plenty we have. Also, it seems that this month is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. How tragic, this juxtaposition of our celebration of plenty and the attempt to gain recognition for the sad plight of thousands of children and their families who are not so fortunate as to have a dwelling wherein to lay their heads.
In this month of Thanksgiving, I want to bring attention to several organizations in Clarke and Frederick Counties who are making a difference in the lives of people who need help finding or keeping a home.
Help With Housing: helping repair or renovate houses to make them liveable for their occupants: based in Berryville and serving Clarke County residents
Teens Opposing Poverty: helping feed and find housing for homeless people: founded and led by a very special man named Steve Jennings, teaching youth to recognize the humanity of those less fortunate than themselves
Habitat for Humanity: building houses in such a way that they are affordable for qualifying families, while serving to revitalize neighborhoods and grow the local economy at the same time
The Salvation Army: feeding and sheltering homeless people and helping find transitional housing, among the many services they provide for those in need
I know there are others. Maybe the best way I can express my gratitude for my home is to try to help someone who doesn’t have a home. Maybe some readers will feel the same. There are many ways to help, whether the donation be of the wallet, of the flesh, of the clock, or all three.
Wendy Gooditis is a real estate agent on the Chip Schutte Real Estate Team with ReMax Roots at 101 East Main St., Berryville, VA 22611, phone (540)955-0911. Wendy would be happy to answer any questions you may have about real estate, and can be reached at Gooditis@visuallink.com or at (540)533-0840.