The End of Debra Lane

Sam has a new Weber grill. Oh, happiness
Dinner on the back patio. The table and chairs, another gift from our friend, Debra
This is the You-want-me-to-do-what? look when Sam asks me to crawl under the house to help install insulation.
Sam's garden mounds, watermelon, squash and potatoes way in back.

June, 2019

At the last writing, Sam and I opened escrow on a manufactured home that sits on an acre at the end of Debra Lane, in Anderson. 

Amidst it all, I decide to let my hair grow. I’m telling you this because it seems significant to me for some reason. The short perky style that was so me for so long has completely lost its appeal. It seemed to go, along with everything else. My hair growing out is a thick mass, curly and now frizzy-gray at the edges. It is a wild bush in the morning before I corral it all up. Grabbing the scissors and taming it into compliance is an option, but a deeper urge wants to ride it out, to what end I’m not sure.  Sometimes a road is just a road and needs to be traveled. Perhaps, in good time, it will lead me back to myself. 

So… the house… the all-consuming house: The storm that hit Redding/Anderson mid-February, took down vulnerable oaks and pines, weak from years of drought. It also took down the front patio cover of this place, mid-escrow. 

We move in amidst the installation of a brand new patio cover, the only bright spot in the whole affair, as far as I can tell.  After the harsh winter and brutal storm, the broken trees and barren landscape reinforce a sense of despair I haven’t been able to shake.  

The inside; like walking into a tomb – so far from the light, airy home we’d left behind in Paradise. I can find nothing endearing me to this place. As far as I am concerned, the quicker we can get it fixed up and back on the market the better off we’ll be. 

My first real sense to the extent of troubles ahead, is how the towel rods and shelving are installed at angles, anywhere from five to fifteen degrees off-level. Moulding around the windows might end half-way up and the top half of the window then covered by a dusty-ruffled valance. Repairs, done on the fly – shout cheap, fast, sloppy and ready to disintegrate. Yes, we did have an inspection and took a discount off the listed price for necessary repairs, but as we go deeper to find more leaks, more crossed wires, more deterioration, a hopeless sense of a mistake made, sinks in like a lead weight.

While Sam repairs broken sprinklers and pipes and prepares the soil for planting, I tackle painting the walls. The existing color palette ranges from mustard, to mauve, to stark white and dark blue– a color fight that hurts my soul each morning. I decide on a light sand color and white trim throughout – aaahhh…

Neighborhood peacocks, lots of them, roam here. The story in the hood tells of how it all started with a couple of peacocks, Gertrude and Wilbur, pets of the man who lived on the corner lot, but died last year.  We counted over twenty in our yard one morning.  A lovely novelty at first, all curiosity and iridescence. But the 4 a.m. screeching and the ravaging of newly planted gardens, quickly puts them in the category of unwanted visitors. Chasing them off whenever we catch them in the yard seems to be working. Imagine you’re a peacock, minding your own business, foraging for seeds and bugs. Suddenly, out of nowhere appears Running-pajamaed-woman, lion-like head bouncing, arms flailing – word in the flock travels fast.

Spring brings a riot of color to the front gardens. Armed with clippers and trowel I attack the vines, that strangle the blooming camellias and roses. Hacking away and digging at the offending culprits serves to release that primal urge to kill every ugly vestige of what was. I do it with vigor – so satisfying.  

Sam’s vegetable and herb garden send up new shoots, hinting at an upcoming bounty. On the back deck, we gaze out over a sea of flowers that blanket the yard in yellow. I say softly, nearly inaudible, as if speaking too loud might constitute a commitment, “It is beautiful here,” 

Summer heat descends on us. Sam tends this acre of land, watering, planting and mowing as if this is what he was put on this good earth to do. I love that about him.

Tiny frogs, no bigger than a fingernail, hop across this land.  A flick of a blade of grass out of the corner of my eye and I am on my knees, talking to a little creature who doesn’t know me from Adam. I laugh at a two-inch hop and fear for this small vulnerable life. 

We are still waiting for the SBA loan we were assured of months ago, With that we can tackle the structural stuff,  deck repairs, flooring and maybe new windows. Until then we are comfortable here. The roof doesn’t leak and the evaporative cooler, we call Swampy, works fine. 

The sun dapples morning light through the Cypress, onto the patio while we sip coffee. Hummingbirds flit playfully through the skittering sprinklers. A peahen and seven baby chicks peck their way across the yard.  We practically stop breathing, so as not to frighten them away.  A hawk soars overhead. 

I shake off any urge to put down roots here. It all seems precarious and temporary – the need for flight could come with the next spark on dried grass. We’ve come eight months and a lifetime to arrive at the end of Debra Lane. I can’t imagine leaving, and yet I can’t imagine staying.The only road I see before me now is the one inward – the journey in search of old one who waits for me on that rise above the river. Tendrils of gray escape the confines of a loosely tied band at the base of her neck. She greets me with a sideways smile and, “What took you so long.” 

“Tell me a story,” I plead. I want to hear again, the one where she decides to let her hair grow.


Front garden. Muffy likes it here.
Peacock, looking good in Spring
1" visitor from the Frog Realm
Possum Medicine lives here now. She looks ferocious but is actually a very gentle spirit.

We are blessed with so much support from friends and family who have helped us get back on our feet, both emotionally and physically. I feel you. Your thoughts, prayers and gifts fill me with love and gratitude. Thank you.

Living room shelves I made. Beautiful rug, a gift from our friends, Bob & Marti – matches perfect.
Guest bedroom. I made the headboard from old fencing left here. Deborah Kelley gave us the queen size bed
I reupholstered the chairs from this Salvation Army find. Another beautiful rug, a gift from friends, Don & Mickey.
End of Debra Lane
The End of Debra Lane

17 thoughts on “The End of Debra Lane

  • June 27, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Sheri you make my heart both sing and cry…your writing is so deep and heart felt…the devastation and the rebuilding of your life I can’t even imagine. I am so glad to call you friend. Sounds like you are doing the best you can to rebuild your soul…I thin of you so very often with love. I hope some happy for you…Love Stephi

  • June 27, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Well… as usual… you have me laughing out-loud and crying out-loud in the span of a minute! No one says it better than you, Sheri!! Your imagery is vivid, so I’m right there with you and Sam on that ‘acre at the end of Debra Lane’! Thanking you with love in my heart always!!! Suzanne :-))))
    PS Wonderful to be with you and Sam at Jonathan’s graduation … a time to cherish!!

  • June 27, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Oh my friend how I adore you. There are so many feelings you have expressed that I am going through. The death of a future that was so bright. The feeling of not belonging anywhere, no roots to put down. Every waking minute of my day I fight the desire to sleep. I miss you so much.

  • June 27, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Oh my gosh Sheri, I love your house and especially the yards! Gorgeous. I totally understand. We just moved into a wonderful house on almost 2 acres. I love it and I dont love it. So overwhelming at times. I get a little mad but then the gratefulness seeps in and all is well. I think I know where Debra is. Anderson is a good community. My friends Rick and Val moved there after they lost their house on Scottwood. They love it. Maybe you and they could meet for breakfast. They love The Skillet on Balls Ferry. 🙂

  • June 27, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    I, too, love your writing! I wish you contentment.
    I love the picture of you with growing-out hair. I always loved your hair. Mine is wavy and to my hips now.
    Much love to you!

  • June 27, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Beautiful words from my beautiful Mom! Wherever you are is home to me. Love you to the end of Debra lane and back!! See you very soon.

  • June 27, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Sheri, that was beautiful & I did not know that bayou could write as well! Margo

  • June 28, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Oh, Sheri…. what a beautiful post. Such imagery! I hope you come to enjoy the end of Debra Lane, or you find the end you love. And love the hair!

  • June 28, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    What a beautifully told story, Sheri! A wonderful circle of hair, emotion, dispair and struggle, then tentative acceptance. Love the hair, appreciate the struggle. I know you! I know your soul, and I love and miss you terribly! By the way, we have those same little tree frogs in our pond in front. Happiness and peace to you and Sam!

  • June 28, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you all for your wonderful responses You fill my heart. Sheri

  • June 28, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Sheri,

    Thanks for the morning devotional.
    I couldn’t stop reading and loved where you took me.

    Strange how life is.
    God is good and in the struggle with us.

    I couldn’t stop at 10 .
    In my haste to grab a notepad my thoughts are not in good order.
    You sound Normal
    Co dependent
    In the Middle
    Working the Plan
    Just like Me

    Keep it up lovely lady. You make the world a better place.

    Chuck Reeder

  • June 28, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Sheri so many things I love about you and all expressed in your writing. I reme ber walking into Debra Lane house and cringing this seems so depressing but your beautiful soul takes ugly and makes it a home. You are so brave and resilient. Debra Lane exhibits the strength that you and Sam have towork together and make things better. I feel blessed that you and Sam are close and I can visit often and enjoy one of Sams yummy meals. I love you Sister, thank you for being in my life.

  • June 28, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Whew. Sigh. Whew. Giggle. From tears to laughter and back again … and again.
    You always find and foster hope. Do you even know that about yourself? Or is it so deeply seated in your soul as to be invisible in the mirror?
    Thank you, Sheri. Whew. Sigh.
    Love and hugs to your merry band.

  • June 28, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Hey Sheri
    Your thoughts and feelings are yours…thank you for sharing them with all of us. Despair hits us when we take hits that we are not expecting…
    You seem to be facing forward and going thru the tunnel.
    I went to the Welburn Gourd farm today and as I walked thru the paths of gourds, I thought of you. When I went inside the shop there were some of your friends there in a case to greet me!!
    You have spread your love throughout Fallbrook with your art. They are in little places that are saying “Remember me, I am a friend of Sheri’s.
    Miss you my master of creation. I will never forget you and all the beautiful/strange creatures you have made.
    Make more and spread them throughout your adventures
    Cheryle Clinite

  • June 30, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you all for your thoughts and support. I wanted to respond to each post on this site, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to set that up. sigh. Please know that I read all your comments and they mean so much to me.

  • June 30, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Sheri, WOW! You and Sam have been through so much since leaving north county. I think of you and then Joan and visa versa. Our fun lunches in town and the yummy tuna sandwiches at your place. After seeing your touches on the new “tomb” it is hard to visualize what you started with. It is darling! I truly hope you find a happy place no matter where it is. Your writing is beyond wonderful. Love OB

  • July 1, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    You landed in a place that called for your kind of attention. My Goddess how you and Sam bring places to life. I am filled with joy when I see what you both create. You are my mentors. Sam with his green thumbs & you with your magick.

    The peacocks & peahens & peababies are a wonderful story. It seems that they too lost a home. Lonesome for their human? They certainly have enormous voices. I worked by Hollandia Dairy many years ago and they used peafowl to keep bugs under control. Egads what a chorus. They would cross the road and peek into the windows where I was busy working at my desk.

    You are growing your hair & I am pondering whether or not to go curly with a big old hair cut. Last time I went short was in 2010. We shall see. Hmmmm.

    I love you my Spiritual Sister.

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