We lived in Texas for four years, a long time for a military family. The nice neighborhood we lived in had a lot of military families, so neighbors came and left often. I believed an exception to the transient lifestyle was the older couple who lived next door. They were good people and good neighbors. We exchanged pleasantries and occasionally had longer conversations. After we had lived there for about a year, we were sad to see a “For Sale” sign go up in front of their house.
It didn’t take long for the house to sell, and the older couple was preparing to move. I saw the man outside one day and he seemed to be deep in thought. He told me that he had made bird houses, one for each of his grandchildren, labeled them with their names, and placed them on the posts of their privacy fence in their backyard. When the kids visited, they would run out to check their birdhouses for activity. The grandkids, he said, were asking about their birdhouses and wanted to know what would happen to them when their grandparents moved.
The grandfather felt, in good conscience, that they should stay with the house. After all, he reasoned, they were affixed to the property; and according to real estate contracts, such things should stay with the property for the next owners. He was also concerned about disturbing any nests that birds may still be using or might return to. He was conflicted between what he reasoned was legally right and what his heart wanted to do.
I don’t recall if he asked what I thought, or if I simply offered my opinion; but there was no question in my mind, no question at all, that they should take the birdhouses with them. If the new owners wanted birdhouses, they could easily buy some new ones. They could place new birdhouses wherever they wanted to, but his grandkids’ birdhouses were irreplaceable for his family and should go with them to be enjoyed for many more years. I was glad when I saw that the birdhouses had moved with the older couple.
That conversation took place in 1996. Some of the details are fuzzy, but I still remember it. Twenty-six years later, I have two of my own grandchildren, and there are more to come…..so I bought some birdhouses.
We will label them with our grandchildren’s names and we will place them on the posts of our privacy fence in our backyard. And when the time comes for us to move, there will be no question, no question at all, that we will take them with us.