As hard as it is for me to believe, this year marks the 20-year anniversary of my family’s move to Williamson County.
Brentwood, to be exact. Even though a Realtor told us we couldn’t afford to live here, that’s where we put down roots and it’s where we have stayed.
In many ways, I guess it’s not that hard to believe it’s been two decades. I mean, I only have to look in the mirror to realize the passage of time. The hairline was receding when we moved here and the process is now complete. There was a fleeting moment when I attempted a comb-over, but I came to my senses and gave in.
That passage of time is also keenly noted when I walk into a house that is oh so quiet. The three children who grew up in it are long gone, with two of them married with babies on the way. Our own “baby” lives in Indiana, for crying out loud, a state I once could probably not immediately find on a map. To be fair, that would have been when I lived in Arkansas. But still. Indiana.
This all came to mind recently as my wife and I took a meal to a young family who recently moved to Franklin. The mother is the daughter of a college friend.
This couple also has three children, although they are younger than ours were when we moved here (all under five . . . bless those parents’ hearts), and since she’s my college friend’s daughter, well, yes, I’m plenty old enough to be her father. They are a few years behind where we were 20 years ago.
But there are similarities. Like we did at first, they are renting, and as they consider future home ownership, they have a bit of sticker shock – just as we did all those years ago. And that seems like nothing compared with the market today.
The agent who told us we could not afford to live in Brentwood would be 100 percent correct if we were first-time buyers here today.
With 20 years under our belt, and 16 in the current house, my wife and I have frequent conversations about moving. More accurately, I begin those conversations and she listens. When I look on one of the websites that gives an estimate of what our house is worth, I salivate. It’s even worse when I look at what houses in my neighborhood have sold for in the past year.
And the last two weekends, as I have put down mulch in our acre-plus yard (thank you, Brentwood), and thought about the list of never-ending maintenance items for our 30-something year-old home, my mind has wandered, thinking of newer, more efficient homes with smaller yards.
But sadly, a drive through neighborhoods where this might be possible brings me back to reality.
Narratives that begin with “charming homes that start in the low 600s” fail to charm me. After making one of my speeches to my wife (my captive audience) about how we really should consider moving, and driving her through one of these newer neighborhoods a few miles south, she observed that I am a little more into this than she is.
“I think you might have the itch,” she said. And then there is always her very sensible question, “Where would we go?”
My latest idea is that we sell, put a bunch of our stuff in storage, move into an apartment and “take a breath.”
She is not interested. With none of our children living here and two grandchildren on the way, she is not going to move into anything that will accommodate only the two of us – even if only on a temporary basis. There must be room for any or all of them. Period.
Even if I come in from that acre-plus yard holding my back. Even if I remind her of the nearby house that generated multiple offers at asking price or above.
In his first letter to Timothy in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul told his friend that if we have food and covering, we should be content. Some interpretations interpret covering as shelter, or housing.
I am no theologian, but I have to wonder if Paul had known how much Timothy might have gotten for that shelter in a seller’s market, he might have given him the OK to test the waters.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, husband of one, father of three, father-in-law of two and soon-to- be grandfather of two. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.