"WE have always looked on the lot of a minister in a country town as our ideal of a happy and useful life," wrote Parker, many years later, and he recalled the West Roxbury years. Within walking distance of Boston, West Roxbury was nevertheless a country town, and life here was almost idyllic. The parsonage was about a mile from the Spring Street Church, a pleasant white house, shaded by large elm and maple trees and set back from the road behind a picket fence; it had formerly been occupied by "The Rain Water Doctor, I. Sylvan, Enemy of Human Diseases." From his study window Parker could look out through the branches of tulip trees over his own land and over the spacious grounds of his neighbors, the Russells and the Shaws.
He was a farmer, now, as well as a preacher; householding and husbandry kept him busy. He had a corn patch and a vegetable garden, a grape arbor and a few fruit trees; he kept a horse and a cow and even a pig, and when he talked over the crops with the hired man he could imagine that he was back in Lexington. There was a small flower garden, too, where he tried to raise some of his favorite lilies of the valley, and where he planted hibiscus and black- eyed Susans; and he saw to it that the hedge which separated the parsonage from the Russell estate was kept low, so that he could step across it whenever he wanted to.
The Russells were famous friends, and he had "many a long chaffer with the fine ladies" in the house, and sometimes there would be amateur theatricals in the barn, close with the smell of hay, or declamations by young Henry Lee,