LAUGHTER IN THE WALLS
by Bob Benson

I pass a lot of houses
on my way home.
Some pretty,
some expensive,
some inviting.

But my heart always skips a beat
when I turn down the road
and see my house
nestled against the hill.

I guess I'm especially proud
of the house
and the way it looks
because I drew the plans myself.
It started out large enough for us--
I even had a study;
two teenage boys
now reside in there.
And it had a guest room;
my girl and nine dolls 
are permanent guests.
It had a small room
Peg had hoped
would be her sewing room,
the two boys swinging
on the Dutch door
have claimed this room as their own.
So it really doesn't look right now
as if I'm much of an architect.
But it will get larger again.

One by one they will go away--
to work, to college,
to service,
to their own houses.
And then there will be room--
a guest room, a study,
and a sewing room--
just for the two of us.

But it won't be empty.
Every corner, every room,
every nick in the coffee table
will be crowded
with memories.
Memories of picnics,
parties, Christmases,
bedside vigils, summers,
fires, winters, going barefoot,
leaving for vacation, cats,
conversations, black eyes,
graduations, first dates,
ball games, arguments,
washing dishes, bicycles,
dogs, boat rides,
getting home from vacation,
meals, rabbits,
and a thousand other things
that fill the lives
of those who would raise five.

And Peg and I
will sit quietly by the fire
and listen to the
laughter in the walls.

from More Stories For The Heart
compiled by Alice Gray

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