Maw-paw’s House

1970, the house was old and withered with metal can ring covering the knotted pine boards, and the rain would beat down in an angry cadence upon the rusted tin roof.  An outhouse long unused sat off to the side a haven for snakes, spiders and other wildlife that ventured within.   The mountain protected and cursed the back side of the house with land mud slides every decade or so that passed it by. Cedar trees were centurions guarding the entrance and leading a meandering path always downward to the churning water. The front of the house had a three-foot stoop that one climbed upon a massive log to enter and praying that the jostling river would stay its banks yet again.

The night was so dark that unaided by the moon, one couldn’t see to the end of one’s nose, but looking straight up one saw a cacophony of stars and universes never beginning and without end- truly spectacular.

The tired big house held five rooms with unpainted sheetrock walls and ceilings and coal oiled coated floor timbers; my bare feet soles were always black. A chamber pot sat in every bedroom and was unceremoniously dumped out of doors. An old piano that held its tune wafted music that echoed in the night air.  Three small bodies to a cotton tick bed, weighted with quilts to ward from the mountain nights chill. Aunts and Uncles would gather with steel guitar, acoustic guitar, a tambourine and voices signing the children into slumber.

Sometime in the night, the rain stops its drumming to a gentle pattering on the roof reigns in that morning has come. The sun comes up, the bears and night cats take to their dens… it is a glorious new day. The meat and smokehouse beckoned paw-paw to bring in the slaughtered pig bacon while maw-maw makes the biscuits and fries the gathered brown eggs, milk, strong black coffee, and juice complete the meal.  The older female children draw from the nearby well water and wash up the dishes while the women clean the kitchen. The boys and youngens are sent out to play.  All in all its, not a bad start to my day.

 

 

 

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