(48 years old, and I think it’s safe to say that ‘The Old Place’ still tops my ‘favorite place list.’)
Driving by ‘The Old Place’ stirred a mixture of emotions. It is hard to believe that it has been 31 years since my parents sold it for the new place... aka‘The Barn.’ To my surprise, 'The Old Place' had been modernized into the present day... and was up for sale. I turned around and decided to sit for a while....
|The bedroom window, just behind the chimney, is gone.|
|A porch... a fitting new addition.|
|The water is much lower than years ago... evident by the hovering tree trunk.|
I so remember running around on those grounds as a child. The river drowned out any insulting noises - though there really were none. I sat there for an hour and only 5 cars drove by. Can you imagine?! I could see my childhood flash before me. My sisters and I spent so many hours in that creek... creating dams to have deeper water to swim in, to corral and catch fish, to build our own river forts. Lisa must have been about 7 or 8 years old when she reached into the ripples and came up with a whopper of a trout! Dad had been working by the waters edge and heard her call out, “Hey, Dad, look at this!” I don’t think she really realized the improbability of her catch. He laughed and asked her to hold it higher so he could get a better look, in sheer disbelief that his little girl had just caught the massive trout he had so many times tried to nab via fishing pole. The fish twisted and arched in her hands as she held it overhead. Her bleached blond hair sticking together in drenched bunches, framing her proud smiling face... all while proud PaPa looked on and laughed out loud. She could hold it no more, bending to the rivers bed she let the fish go.
|Lisa (5 yrs old) and Barbara (7 yrs old) - 1972|
|Lisa & our friends Randy & Lori ~ 1977|
|The pine tree is gone... and the 'coffee bush is oh so tiny...|
Then there was the ‘Coffee Bush.’ Every morning Mom would take the used grounds out and dump them under the bush. I’m not sure why this routine started, but the bush apparently loved, loved, loved this and responded by growing into a beautiful 'full-bodied' bush! The ‘Coffee Bush’ still exists, but not with the vigor of my childhood days. No doubt the new owners are unaware of the coffee grind rules.
|The edge of the 'coffee bush'(rt) & our infamous fire pit.|
The fire pit is no more. Not to say I don’t know where it was.... We sat for hours upon hours listening to the crackling blaze, amidst the steadfast, surround sound lull of the rippling river. No sooner were the logs lit, and Mom would walk out of that rickety old kitchen with two cups of coffee in hand... and maybe even some hot chocolate. Using big old logs for our seats, we nestled as close as we safely could to the flames. From time to time a bat would swoop over head, and we would squeal in horror and delight. Sparks from the embers floated up on the heat waves, setting our sights to the starlit sky... More than our hands were warmed by those fire pit nights.
The apple tree in the corner is gone, as is the old dog house. It is safe to say the woodchuck has probably also gone. He graced our mornings everyday. Many of his cousins were target practice, and met speedy ends. But this guy was Officially off limits per my Mom. She loved to watch him out the kitchen window, him and his brother up the street... the one that sat on the crest of the hill in front of the waterfall entry... any other family members were fair game. But not them.
The outhouse was gone too. Only a sink hole in the area it used to be. The field above, the one with the grazing cows, was now overgrown. So overgrown you could no longer see a field. No way cows were anywhere in the area.
Looking back to the river, at this moment in time, I wondered how many of the rocks were still there from my childhood. The big ones of course. The ones that nature was hard pressed to move. But what about the little ones? The ones we used to build the dams. Did those still sit where we left them?
Did it really matter? Right now.... right this second... The best thing of all, was the tranquility was as I remembered. True. Unwavering. Unblemished.
|Mom and Heidi|
|Heidi sitting watch|
|June 1972... me in my 'cool' red shorts... 8 years old.|