By Peggy Sims
Sometimes I wish I could rewind time and hear that old wind up clock that sat on my grandmother’s mantel chime just one more time.
You know, it had been sitting in the same place, striking the hour and half hour, between the two pictures of my grandparents for many years. The young girl with her dancing eyes and the knowing smile, you just know she’s holding a splendid secret. The boy looks much older in his wide brimmed hat and string tie but, I doubt he’s a day over the legal age.
In my memories, the old house remains the same, no paint, long front porch, and a water bucket holding a chipped metal “community” dipper, and the chair where my granddaddy sat and whittled small delicate animals with his pocket knife.
The front parlor holds a bed, a big four poster, covered in a patch work quilt. Some of the patches are from my grandmother’s flowered apron and some from my granddaddy’s striped overalls and some from many of the dresses I had seen my mother wear. The long cedar chest, my treasure chest, lines the back wall of the tiny-planked bedroom. This old box held endless surprises and timeless treasures for me as a child.
In it were my great-grandmother’s tatted lace doilies, my Aunt Idies’s red checked bonnet with the cardboard stays, my deceased two year old uncle’s picture who had died from some mysterious disease, and my grandmother’s wedding dress, white lace yellowed with age.
The old wood cook stove with its iron eyes, always holding a pot of mud colored coffee warm from the blackjack wood my granddaddy had placed inside the little door at the bottom.
My grandmother cooked more meals than I will ever prepare in my lifetime on that old stove. The long rough dining table, handmade by my grandfather, loaded with food and my granddaddy’s two huge butter filled biscuits and my grandmother’s tall green glass full of RC cola and ice tea. I remember her making us “sassafras” tea when we would visit with a sore throat.
The screened back porch led to seven tall narrow steps, stepping down into a flower bed growing inside old black tires. A red antique rose
bush grew just by the steps, but now grows in my mother’s manicured front yard.
Across the dirt driveway, a worn path led down into the woods where the everflowing spring ran over the rocks and tree roots.
A large persimmon tree growing on the bank, just out of the water always loaded with the bitter tasting fruit in its season, where my cousins and I would try to eat the small yellow-orange balls of fruit.
There was no running water, so, no inside facilities. There was a small out-house just down the hill from the back door. It was gray and unpainted, just like the house with a half-moon cut out on the top of the door. I always wondered why that was cut into the door.
I remember the rolling store, made from an old yellow school bus, its windows painted white, and lined with shelves of canned food. It was loaded with all sorts of groceries and always a few pieces of candy or chewing tobacco that my grandmother would buy.
These things and these places no longer stand on this overgrown hillside. The old house fell several years ago, I believe from just plain loneliness that is if a house can feel abandoned. My grandmother and granddaddy have moved on to their final rest but here inside my heart’s memory, that old house still stands in all of its glory.