There is often one room in the house that is or becomes the hub. In the Sheehan house, that room is the kitchen. It’s a place where folks gather. The long counter tops on either side invite the adopted Sul Ross college kids to sit and unload as a meal is prepared around them. Children run through laughing and giggling. The smells that emanate from this kitchen seem to pull people in. The big gas stove (there is even power to the back for an electric stove as well) seems to pump out food. The under the cabinet radio plays the soft sounds of the local station. The warmth that flows from this simple room fills belly, heart and soul.
The holiday seasons things seem to amp up. Cookies for neighbors. Fresh ground flour for homemade breads. Laughter and love seems to pour out from this room. Bing Cosby softly carols from the radio. Your whole being is wrapped in a warm blanket of spices from the ginger snaps and the earthy aroma of fresh bread. Vanilla seems to linger in the air. The room embodies Christmas!
You never know what you will see living along this creek here at the Sheehan house. Over the years we have had coons in the big elm trees along side the long drive. We have found Javalina chilling in the front yard as if they owned the place. The number of bird species, including fluttering humming birds, is amazing. But among our native guests, the deer are our favorite. They bed down in the side of the creek and graze there as well. The sight of them, walking along, unafraid during the day is always a happy one. This particular guy is like a neighbor to us. He is almost like a mob boss with the other deer. They all wait for him to give the coast is clear sign and then follow him everywhere. They watch his moves. He sets the pace. He is our friend.
Summer means something so very special at the Sheehan house. It means back yard living!!! It means BBQ with friends because nothing says summer like BBQ. It means the invigorating scent of fresh cut grass. In the large back yard at the Sheehan house, it means peace. A place to relax and unwind. A place to forget the cares of the world. A place to gather with family, friends and neighbors and project a movie late into the night. Then there are those special nights in this oasis where you can just sit with a fire pit blazing and listen to bands playing around town in the distance. The peacefulness is almost overwhelming. But the absolutely best part of the back yard in my opinion is a blanket laid on the cool grass, laid out flat staring up at the night skies. There is something about the skies in the Big Bend area that are haunting and peaceful all at the same time. You feel as if you are staring into eternity. As you lay there, a cool breeze reminds you of the here and now. The Mulberry trees flutter in an age old tune. A cricket chirps in the corner of the yard and all feels right with the world.
You hear the word neighborhood all the time. It falls flat anymore. There was a time in America where your neighborhood was your identity in many ways. In the Sheehan house neighborhood, neighborhood still means something. Here, its means a place where you are safe. A home. It means a group of people who stand up for and with each other. A place where kids bicycle safely up and down the streets, gather and play in the rain and splash in the creek when it runs. It’s a place to walk peacefully and safety any time, day or night. A place to sit on the front porch with a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning and greet your friends and neighbors. It’s a community within a community. You get to know, not only your neighbors but their dogs names as they pass by. It’s a place where you might open the door to find a neighbor had heard about your rough day and had brought you a warm apple pie just to say they care. We have a saying around here, that no one fights alone here and it is even more prevalent in this neighborhood. When the chips are down, we stand up and fight for you. It’s a place where the rest of the world passes you by while being loved as if you were family.
There is something about a tea party that just speaks to my soul. The very best china is set. Silver sparkles and shines. Lovely napkins adorn the table. There is a style, elegance and grace to a beautifully set table whether a dinner table, a tea table or buffet table.
The art of a tea party is delightful. The invitations are sent. The flowers are ordered, because who has a tea party without them? The linens have been starched. The sinful finger foods are laid on the doilies adorning the silver platters. The tea is hot and ready. Tiny crystal like sugar cubes glisten. Cream awaits to be poured. There is a quivering air of expectation.
The door bell rings! Ladies step into the room like gorgeous swaying tulips and irises, beautifully dressed and swaying with excitement.
Everyone is seated and prepared with their own scone, ribbon sandwich or niblet. The tea has been poured. Ladies slowly partake of an age old social tradition. Style and grace fill the room.
The Sheehan house is the perfect place to host a tea party or just a get together with your tribe!
A small city in 1882, named Osborne, sprang up at the foot of what is now proudly called “A” mountain. Cattlemen and railroaders living in tents were the start of what is now considered one of fifty safest cities in the United States. This small tent city was fed by a cool spring on land then owned by the Murphy brothers. The railroad, in need of water offered the brothers the right to call the settlement Murphyville in exchange for the use of the water from the spring. Murphyville was then registered as the new name with the Presido County Clerk, as the area was then part of said county. In 1888 the citizens petitioned for a name change to Alpine that was granted. The town continued to grow until 1921 when Sul Ross State Normal college was opened. This helped bring about huge changes to Alpine. City utilities were brought in. Streets were paved. In 1940 Big Bend National Park was created bringing more people into the area.
With a vast area of open lands surrounding Alpine there is a wildness here. You can drive for days and never see it all. The dry climate is great year round. The cool desert evenings in even the hottest part of the summer bring a respite that few places can match. Paired with the open skies full of stars most can only imagine, the area haunts souls with its magic.