Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The rarified air of Grandview Drive

On the way home from work today, I decided to go through the Heights and take the leisurely way home...down Grandview Drive

It truly is a beautiful area...even in the dead of winter.

The view out over the bluff and across the Illinois River is breathtaking. It's so high that the boats and barges traveling up and down the river appear in miniature. The view almost always makes me cry. I know...it's weird. For whatever reason, sights like that nearly always move me to tears. The Smokies do that to me, too. And the ocean. I bawled like a baby the first time I saw it.

Aaaanywho, I got to thinkin as I meandered my way down the curvy street...and on down to the steep twists, turns and switchbacks that lead to Rt. 29.

I wondered what it would be like to live up there...in one of the "grand" homes. And there are some truly grand homes. We're not talkin your new McMansions, here, though there are a couple of those, too...sadly. We're talkin real mansions. Homes built in the early part of the century. There's even a castle, complete with turrets and a stone bridge across a small "moat". Some of the homes are gorgeous...some border on the ridiculous. But most all have some kind of character...real character. There are Tudors and Georgians and Mediterranean villas, complete with red tile roofs...and everything inbetween.

I wondered who lived in those homes...what they did for a living and how they came to live where they do. Did they appreciate that quirky, old home for it's character...or for the prestige of the address? Do they truly appreciate the amazing view most of them have...do they take it for granted...do they even see it on a day-to-day basis?

Are they happy in their homes...with their astronomical mortgages and off-the-chart property taxes and ohmygawd, the upkeep on something like that. Because, even if they're filthy rich, the cost of living in a place like that has just gotta be mind-boggling. Do they work just to live there? Surely some of 'em do.

And then I got to thinkin...why would anybody wanna do that? I mean...do they have anything left to...well...play with? I'd hate to think that I'd hafta pour everything I made into a home and have nothing left over.

And then I got to thinkin about our little style-less bungalow right on the river. We have a pretty amazing view, too...up close and personal, as it were. Though it isn't grand by any stretch of the imagination, it's cozy and warm and we've made it ours. It has everything we need in a home...well, except a hot tub (I'm workin on that)...and it certainly doesn't cost us an arm and a leg to live here.

And I can't imagine one of those people up on Grandview loving their home any more than we do.

I mean...c'mon...what's not to love?


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