Always and forever

With the exception of my blackberry meltdown last week, I have finally quit mourning my past life and am embracing our new home. It really is beautiful and I’m excited to create a gorgeous garden and now a lovely forest arboretum. But there was one aspect I still pined over: the mural we had painted on the side of our shed in the backyard.

It was a vision I’d had for years, but the shed was a ramshackle of a structure. When we moved into that house 27 years ago, it was just a frame with sheets of fiberglass roofing material covering the sides. My father came the week before we got married to rebuild it. I’m sure he looked forward to bonding with his future son-in-law, as my parents were living in Texas at the time. He hadn’t met him before then.

The only wedding task the men had was to pick up their tuxes. There was no reason they couldn’t build a moderate shed in a week. The problem was, my almost-hubby worked up until the wedding day. My dad, bless his heart, waited until he got home in the late afternoon to do anything. In addition, my parents flew out two days after the ceremony, so there wasn’t really time to waste.

Reality set in just a couple days before the wedding; my dad got in a toot and finished the job in a rush. Don’t get me wrong here, anything my father built could’ve withstood a hurricane, tsunami, earthquake combination disaster. It stood strong, but to save money, it still had fiberglass sides. To save even more time, he didn’t cut the end posts, so though it was tied into my husband’s shop it ended up with a flat roof. You know what happens to a flat roof? It holds water and begins to rot no matter how much tar paper you put on it.

Fast forward 24 years and we had another dilapidated structure on our hands. I was sick of looking at the junk in it and my hubs was tired of propping up walls. It was our chance to rebuild it right. He wanted oh so much more out of it, though (hence our eventual move). It still had a dirt floor. It was essentially a carport with walls. For me, however, I got a huge wall for the mural of my dreams. In 2016, I hired a graffiti artist to paint humongous flowers on it for our wedding anniversary. It seemed fitting given the original was rebuilt before our wedding.

Fast forward two years later and we moved. Not only would no one let me bring my rocks from the dry creek bed (which wasn’t even a year old), but no one wanted to pull the plywood walls off the side of the shed (go figure). So we walked away from it. I felt lucky I was able to move several plants I felt partial to, I couldn’t expect to move a shed wall.

Our new bedroom is huge and my youngest urged me to put a picture over our headboard. I’ve never hung anything over my head where I’m sleeping. I think of all the natural disasters that could occur which would cause a heavy art piece to knock us silly. She suggested a print on a light canvas. What a great idea! I searched all my old photos trying to find something I’d want to look at all the time, something meaningful. I remembered the mural. I found a photo, and between my oldest with her PhotoShopping magic and Costco’s printing, it turned out perfectly. So no matter what the current owner does with the shed wall, the mural will always and forever live with me.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh. Her column is always available at under the Life section.