Friday, April 20, 2007

The Mystery of Ruth: Part 1

The house emanated traditional elegance. The 1911 structure had no doubt been constructed by one of the wealthier cattle ranchers from back east seeking their fortune near the front range of the Rocky Mountains. In those days eastern money stretched like tanned hide in the western frontier and riding the steam engines to the last wild place held much mystery and much promise.

When my wife and I purchased this home it looked from the outside as it must have through the eyes of the original architect. The interior had been remodeled to accomodate more of the modern conveniences we now take for granted but much of the old hardwood used around the doorways and as mop board remained intact from the day of its installation.

All in all the house was warm and cozy and simply exuded charm in every room. The heavy wooden front door at the entrance to the house opened into a long hallway with dark flowered carpet and 9 foot ceilings. Upon entry into the foyer the sliding doors to the parlor squeaked on their rollers. I could imagine the proper dress and serving trays with steaming tea and coffee as the rancher hosted a small dinner party, a senator, or maybe even Charlie Russell himself. A partial divide separated this living area from the dining room. The dining room housed a sitting bay window with leaded glass windows that simply remained pristine through the years and turbulent weather.

A narrow doorway connected the dining room to the modern kitchen. A short semicircle around the snack bar and cabinetry led to another doorway and short foyer that directed one to an extra bedroom at the northwest corner of the house and a bathroom straight ahead. The bathroom housed a claw foot cast iron bathtub that further contributed to the sultry ambience of the home. Next to the bathroom was a stairway that moved up and up and up to the loft that once had been used for little more than dusty storage. The previous owners remodeled the attic area and turned the whole length of it into a master suite complete with modern conveniences contained in the master bathroom. It survived as a private sanctuary for rest and relaxation with views into the expansive back yard and the tree lined street above the front entrance.

Back downstairs and through the hallway towards the front door sat what was once the master bedroom and a library or den directly to the south and abutting the front wall of the house. It was here that the old master turned into a guest room for our visitors and the library became a modern television room complete with big screen television and appropriate seating attire. It too became a place occupied on many occasions for rest, relaxation, and entertainment.

It was in this doorway between the modern den and the old master bedroom where the mystery begins and ends for reasons beyond my earthly comprehension. It is within the threshold of that doorway between the two rooms where the temperature dropped to an exasperating chill and the hair on my neck stood at attention regardless of the day or season. It was here that I first met her but never really met her at all. How can breath be felt in a room secure from any draft or breeze?

To be continued.............

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