Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dwelling On Houses

I've been thinking about houses today.

We had Glenn Beck "in the house" at the radio station today. Glenn, although a widely syndicated talk show host, at one time was only on the air in Tampa, Florida and for five years - long before the story was national news - he called attention to the Terri Schiavo case, much to the chagrin of radio programmers nationwide who had no interest in the story.

He eventually became a friend of Terri Schiavo's parents and perhaps the harshest critic of her husband, judges, and all sorts of other folks who made decisions which contributed to her death today.

So Glenn will remember that when Terri Schiavo died he was "in the house" in San Antonio.

I'm not going to further mention the Schiavo case, I think everyone likely has made up their mind by now and I'm not in the business of changing people's minds anyway. I only wanted to talk about houses.

Specifically God's house, our house, and the Beer Can House.

Our church is cleaned by volunteers. Until recently we had two other churches using our facility and their members did some of the cleaning. One church disbanded and this morning Gordon called me and told me the second church was moving on as well. That prompted a brief "cleaning rotation" panic which ended in a very nice way. The couple who started that second church apparently left it a few weeks ago. However they called today saying they wanted to clean our church "one last time." Later they said they actually wanted to stay on our cleaning schedule for the remainder of the year.

That may sound a church which you don't attend, but it made perfect sense to me. This couple is without a place of worship and they believe you can't worship God without performing acts of service.

I learned that lesson too.

This weekend volunteers from our church will be working to clean up some of the areas on our property. Mostly it's moving piles of debris from one place to another, relocating our storage shed and general landscaping stuff. I will gladly take part. I work on God's house before I work on our own home because I consider it a form of worship.

That also goes a long way toward explaining the state of disrepair of some portions of our house - most notably our back patio which needs a new roof and other carpentry work. The church gave Amy a cash gift a while back to thank her for her years of volunteer service leading music and we've set aside those funds for the patio repairs.

Amy thinks she could do the work herself, and in truth with some help - from someone other than me - and the proper tools she probably could, but I'd prefer to "hire" someone and get the job done without taxing Amy's strength. We'll see. We may end up with a compromise where we tear down the old stuff and we hire someone to make the repairs. Tearing down stuff I can do...admittedly it's not always intentional.

The other house I've been thinking about today is this one:

Click to enlarge.

That is the "Beer Can House" on Malone Street in Houston. I'm not certain if it's still the case, but well into the 1990's at least Houston was the largest city in the country with no zoning laws. That resulted in some eclectic neighborhoods to put it mildly. One such neighborhood was home to a beer lover named John Milkovisch. He died in 1988 at the age of 75. That same year I visited his home and met his widow.

That was back in the days of radio when I was allowed to travel Texas roadways once or twice a year to do stories on oddities, eccentrics and drunks...some of those categories overlapped...actually most of them did.

In any case I did a feature piece on the Beer Can House which I resurrected today. It's long, too long to run on commercial radio today...and muddy at spots. This was before digital technology and Mrs. Milkovisch was up in years and not strong of voice. However if you have a broadband connection and want to listen click here.

I don't know if Mrs. Milkovisch has joined her husband and Terri Schiavo by now - she'd be 90 years old next year - but I did read recently that the Beer Can House is still standing. In fact it has been targeted for major restoration by an Arts group which considers it "folk art."

Click to enlarge.

I've been thinking about houses today...houses of death...houses of life...houses of disrepair.

Houses of restoration too.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. - Psalm 71:20