The document in front of me was terrifying.

It represented a mortgage that would make possible the purchase of our first home.

And it made my stomach churn.

The numbers. The interest rate. And the years involved had me shaking in my boots.

I know it can look like a lot, a banker friend said. But the average American moves every seven years. Chances are, he assured me, that you and your wife will move on to a different house long before the mortgage is paid off.

Turns out, he was exactly right.

We moved out of that “starter house” about six years after signing the mortgage.

But then we broke the law of averages.

Last weekend marked 40 years since we moved into our current house, something our banker friend would never have predicted.

I doubt we would have predicted it either.

For the record, we enlisted friends Bob Clamme and Joel Roberts and John T. Phillips — essentially the staff of the Jay County Prosecutor’s Office — to help with the move. They were paid with pizza and cold beer.

All of that comes to mind because our daughters and their families — in Boston and Bloomington — have been in the house-hunting mode for the past several months.

There are, of course, mind-blowing differences between house-hunting in east central Indiana and western Ohio and the same process in Boston or a booming market like Bloomington.

When we listed our first house for sale, it was on the market for months. Today new listings are scooped up — even in Jay County — in a matter of days or even hours.

And then there’s that little matter of the extra digit, the one that moves a house from affordable into the stratosphere.

It’s all a question of location-location-location, the experts tell us. And they are exactly right. There’s no arguing that point.

But that doesn’t make it any easier for an old guy to grasp.

So we’ll sit tight, governed by a combination of inertia and nostalgia and sentiment.

Our house was born as a horse barn for my grandparents’ house next door. It was later converted to a bungalow for my great-grandmother. When the Presbyterian manse had a fire back in the 1930s, my Ronald grandparents lived here temporarily. My uncle Jim Luginbill and my aunt Jean were married in our living room. It’s the house my family was living in when I was born.

And it’s the house in which we raised our daughters.

You can’t put a price tag on that, no matter how many digits you add.

So as our kids search, looking at prices that make my head spin, as they try to find exactly the right home for the next steps in their families’ lives, all I can hope for is that they’ll be as lucky as we have been all these many years.