The Tick Tock of My Heart – Guest Post By Sandra Heska King for TOYS

Sandra’s Blog was one of the first ones I stumbled upon. She hopes to be a Deep See Diver, and I know that she has inspired me to dive deeper. Her words are like honey, and she always finds practical lessons in hidden places. This particular post particularly resonated with my heart. I love history, and this piece drips with it. If you are familiar with Sandra’s writing you know you’re in for a treat, if you’re not prepare to be dazzled.

Egg salad sandwiches. I’m pretty sure that’s what she served. And sweet gherkins in a glass pickle dish. We probably drank iced tea while seated knee-to-knee at the formica table right here, our backs to the window.

And pie. I suspect we had pie. Or heaping bowls of ice cream.

It was the first time he’d brought me to meet his parents—this couple with a Tow-Low in the drive, a Mercedes in the garage, and a John Deere in the barn.

She showed me her “museum” downstairs—farm implements and pictures and memorabilia and old calendars attached to the barnwood-covered wall.

The whole house ticked and tocked from an array of antique clocks that chimed every fifteen minutes upstairs and down.

In the evening we traveled back to the 1700s as we sat cross-legged on the living room floor. We turned pages of albums and scrapbooks and listened to stories of the past.

“Be careful of the bull,” she warned before we went up to the barn. So when pasture-grazing Bozo took a step towards us, I executed a speedy, though not-so-graceful, dive-and-roll under the electric fence. Dennis, who fed and bedded the resident bull (always named Bozo) when he lived at home, folded in laughter.

We were married six months later. That was more than forty years ago. I grew to love this house and its stories. And there seemed to be a place for everything with everything in its place. But she could hardly wait to move. I was broken-hearted when they finally sold it and built a house next to the creek on the south farm. She only got to live there for a year before she died.

I wonder what she’d think if she knew how God orchestrated a job opening for my husband. How our Georgia house sold on a whim. How we were able to buy the house back and build our own memories over the last twenty-three years.

How we sleep in their bedroom and how those sliding closet doors still stick. How my son grew up in Dennis’ childhood room, the room that’s become my writing place. How the cuckoo clock, though silent now, sits in the exact same spot. How I serve sweet gherkins in a glass dish.

Bozo is gone, and the barn collapsed, but the corn is almost waist high. I try to imagine my husband perched on the gray Ford tractor as he pulled the cultipacker through the field. He was only six, and his feet didn’t even reach the pedals.

I walk the perimeter of the yard and wonder about the old log cabin that used to sit on the site of the Great Lilac Massacre. I see rocks set deep against the fence in places where Elsie Dog used to dig and where she treed a woodchuck, where Rose Dog chased two balls and then flop down to rest.

“Hi! Welcome to the rabbit barn.” I refuse to erase my daughter’s pink-chalked words scribbled on black fiberboard. We once had thirty bunnies housed in cages in the little shed attached to the garage. There’s where the goat pen was, just outside that shed. We had a couple of LaManchas. I often had to fuss at Seeley who’d stand with her front feet tapping on the window of the back kitchen door.

There’s another shed on the east side where my father-in-law raised peafowl. We had chickens out there for a couple years. I miss them. As still-under-the-light-but-moved-out babies, they even returned to spend a night in our bathtub during a power outage.

Our pool is gone. I hear echoes of laughter and the splashing and remember quiet nights when I floated alone and gazed at the stars. Two giant pines crumpled it during the storm that took the barn. I smile big at the memory of my son as he demonstrated how to show a goat. Seeley bolted and ran around the yard with him backwards on her back until she finally skidded under the pool deck, and Jeremy tumbled to the ground.

When we first moved in, I announced they could bury me under the porch. I wasn’t moving again.


Yet there are days I stomp frustrated feet at keeping up with a continuing-to-age-150-year-old farmhouse. Then I remember how we stepped into a whim and how fast God took over and carried us home.

This is where I’m supposed to be, but I know the day will come when I can no longer navigate the stairs. When the house becomes too big to care for. And mostly I dread it. Because the walls seep sacred, and the ground hums holy and the land pulsates with history.

And if I close my eyes, I can still hear time tick.

Won’t you join me on Fridays for a new series and linkup called, “Take Off Your Shoes, You’re On Holy Ground!” or TOYS? Each week a post will be shared about the significance of a place and you will be able to share as well!! Just 1) Write a post about how a place has ministered to you. 2) Add your post to the linkup. 3) Add the button to your post. 4)Visit and encourage your neighbors!


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29 thoughts on “The Tick Tock of My Heart – Guest Post By Sandra Heska King for TOYS

  1. I loved this! It took me back to my grandparents farm where I had my best memories. I can still see every room and detail and smell every smell of that place in my mind. My brother and I always talked about buying that place when we grew up but it never worked out. The house burned down 10 years ago.
    So happy you are in your little piece of paradise, your little piece of holy ground.
    It looks wonderful!

    • I’m sorry that home burned. My grandparents’ house, where my dad grew up and I spent many summers eating rhubarb straight from the garden (with a cup of sugar) is an empty field. Hang on to the memories, Kristin. Write them down. Capture those sights and smells for your family.

  2. This is beautiful Sandy. As one who lived as a nomad most of her life, moving from place to place, there is something so comforting in knowing the same feet walked over those floors for decades. There is a sacred holy that comes in putting down roots that spread out and go deep. That steadiness of looking out the window and knowing the view before you get there is just lovely.

    • Thank you, friend. The way we ended up back here after several post-wedding moves out of state is a chill bump story in itself. At least to me. And I always go back to that and remembering holy memories when I am tempted to join a pity party over the “imperfect.”

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  4. nice…sounds like the house is full of stories….sounds a bit like my gramma’s house…always so much to find there that brings back memories…i have a scar from a bull too…smiles…i know the feeling of somedays wanting to break away from where i am at…but only in its time…

  5. I do feel the holy as I read these words, Sandy. What a lovely way to pass the years–hugged by beloved memories. Your homestead is beautiful–made even more so by love.

  6. Wonderful memories to treasure! Living in a home with a heart and roots is so meaningful, compared to the many sterile, cookie-cutter houses that we find in the ever-expanding suburbs. Love this, Sandy… and especially the photos. Your home is lovely!

    • Thank you, Carol. The house was moved in the 60s from up by the barn that collapsed because it was too close to the new highway. That’s when they added the basement, where the family lived for a year while the upstairs was remodeled. My MIL wanted “modern” so they removed all the old woodwork, etc. We’ve never been able to afford a redo. The wrap-around porch was also removed–but we added that back. I love it. 🙂

  7. Oh, this is so wonderful, Sandy! Thank you for giving us some of the back-story for your wonderful home. Everything about it – and you – is beautiful to behold. Just lovely.

  8. I’ve been off the grid for so long, I’ve completely missed hearing about this lovely new link-up. I love it already–great job, KD! And Sandra–this is rich, powerful writing. I could almost hear the ticking clocks. And I could sense the bittersweet tension between the joy of remembering and the grief in letting go. Thanks for taking me on a walk through your memories.

    • I know that “off-the-grid” feeling, but I don’t have your excuse. What wonderful memories you’ve been making!

      And those clocks! Four of them hung outside the guest bedroom door and the grandfather clock was on the other side of the wall. There was also a cuckoo clock a few feet away. I didn’t sleep much that first weekend. (Of course, sitting up late in the dark on the purple and blue couch that sat where my cream-colored leather one does might have contributed.)

    • Thanks so much, Martha. There are parts of it I don’t like at all and wish we could afford to really restore it. But I get all sick to my stomach when I think about someday having to move.

  9. What a blessing to have been able to buy the house back. So beautiful that you were able to make memories here, too. I loved this post. Thank you.

    • A real God thing. Our house in Georgia sold immediately for full price in a buyer’s market. It never even made the listings. Our real estate agent was a gem–but I think it was all God. 🙂

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