Grit Blogs > Panthers Hollow

Finding 'the Place Just Right'

Jennifer QuinnBack in 2010 I had been searching online for a suitable place and found one that really intrigued me. It featured an unpretentious single-wide trailer in a small clearing, lit up by the midday sun, with steep slopes behind. A small stream ran along the road, shaded by a few trees.

On my next trip to the area I drove by and found the road to be a one-lane gravel affair, full of hills and valleys, and the property to be just the kind of rustic setting I had imagined. I contacted the realtor and had her show me the house.

I mentioned that I wanted to have plenty of room for gardening, and the realtor was skeptical. “There’s not much sunlight,” she said. “Maybe you could put a garden over there by the road.” Still, I was blinded by love. I decided on my next trip I’d take a second look and probably make an offer. Before leaving I checked to make sure the place was still listed. To my dismay, it was under contract!

After I was sure the property had sold I did something I knew seemed kind of foolish – I wrote a note to the new owners saying I had been interested in the property, and if they decided to move, to let me know – I might still be interested. I realized that logically this didn’t make much sense, but I had to know what kind of person (or people) had bought this place, and why.

After a while I received a very nice e-mail from the new owner – a widow somewhat older than me – telling me a little bit about herself and why she had bought the place. She said she really liked it there, but to keep in touch because “one never knows.” From the little I gleaned from her email I had the feeling we’d hit it off somehow. So on my next visit I asked if she’d mind my stopping by to meet her, and she said that would be fine.

When I arrived she showed me all around the place and told me about the improvements she had made and problems she had to fix. She was friendly, but she also studied me with a quizzical expression and questioned me rather pointedly as to why I would want to live in such a place, never having lived in the country before. We ended up talking for almost an hour, and discovered we had quite a bit in common.

Over the coming winter we exchanged a few emails, and I felt I had found a friend in Scott County. When I had made the decision to buy my present home, I called to let her know. She was so dubious about the whole venture, I began to have second thoughts myself! “What are you going to do about this” and “What are you going to do about that?” she demanded to know. “You can’t depend on your neighbors to help you. The people around here aren’t like the people you’re used to,” she said. “They’re hillbillies.”

Dorothy (not her real name) was born and raised nearby, but wasn’t your typical Scott County resident – if there is one. She had told me earlier that she didn’t like ‘rednecks.’ "I may sound like one, but I’m not one,” she said. I said since she seemed so capable at fixing things I thought maybe she could give me some help. “I’m not getting involved!” she said. Feeling rather disheartened, I prayed on it some more, then finally decided to make the purchase.

Dorothy had referred me to a realtor who represented me – a friend of hers. On the day I moved in, the realtor showed up, and guess who was with him – Dorothy! As it turned out, Mrs. “I’m-Not-Getting-Involved” spent several hours a day the next few days helping me clean up the place, telling me what to keep and what I could get rid of, and so on. She’s proven to be more reclusive than I expected, but has been a good friend, offering help when needed.  Fortunately I haven’t had to ask often, since – as it turned out – my neighbors have been wonderful! (Not hillbillies – by my definition, anyway.)

In the end I realized that Dorothy’s place wasn’t right for me at all. That place was clearly meant for her, and if I had bought it I would never have met her. And I would have had to deal with horrible flooding problems, as she did the year I moved here, along with having a tree fall on her shed and destroy it. So the hand of Providence was surely at work!

the ford and the bridge at Panther's Hollow

The ford and the bridge leading to Panther's Hollow.