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Posts Tagged ‘Porch’

The two ancient cedar trees have grown together, meeting over the front porch steps of the old house. I part them just enough to climb through. The porch floor is iffy, many of the boards rotting, some even having crumbled and fallen through tangles of spider webs into the dark abyss. Who knows what waits there? Copperheads? Black-widows? It’s safer keeping to the periphery where weight is supported by the much overbuilt footings Grandpa had fashioned out of his collection of fossils and geological finds appropriated on his travels.

The front door stands ajar. Local rowdies have long ago broken in and helped themselves to all the old furniture. Even Grandma’s rocking chair, worth nothing on the local “We buy junk; We sell antiques” market, has been carted off to who knows what oblivion. It would have at best been good for kindling, but I would love to have it just to remember her sitting and rocking, rubbing swollen knuckles on her old hurting hands, and murmuring “I wish I had every-thin’ done”. One arm of the rocker broken beyond aesthetic repair had been salvaged with a bolt, a quarter-twenty flat washer, and a length of baling wire.

The ancient bed, where several generations of Reynolds and then Martins had been conceived and ultimately delivered, is gone, leaving a large unworn rectangle in the corner. Even the old wood stove is conspicuous in its absence, leaving only a gaping maw of blackened stovepipe protruding from the wall. Nothing holds my interest in the stripped front bedroom but memories, so I head for the door that leads to the parlor.

It resists my pressure, hip shoves, and even a hard kick, but finally I’m in. Stacked up beyond are crates and boxes of electronics journals, as well as piles of individual issues that have been dumped out by the scalawags in their joyous creation of this monumental mess. My Dad, who never discarded an electronics reference source, had long before he died, stored his precious stash in the old parlor. Now his once neatly packed and stacked boxes are a metaphor for chaos. My stomach sinks. I am glad, so very glad, that he didn’t have to witness this desecration of what he had so valued.

I want to find something of personal meaning to keep and treasure. But how? Where? I’ll never be able to sort through it all. Discouraged, I pick my way across the room to the fireplace and sit on the raised hearth. I close my eyes and retreat to a place of no thought, just being__ breathing. Suddenly I’m up, slip-sliding through slick magazine covers and staggering to a spot that seems to be calling to me. I kneel and begin to dig, tossing aside volume after volume of out-of-date material that had once represented state-of-the-art. I dig all the way down to linoleum, uncovering a small red box. It’s a standard package for top-tear bank checks. I reach for it with both hands and yank off the lid. It’s mine, left from years ago when my Dad and I had collaborated on a new concept wound suction pump, and I had invented an improved mammary implant using silicone gel and Emerson & Cuming Eco-Spheres. Sweet memories come flooding back. Inside the box is a Polaroid snapshot of one of my engineering drawings speckled with red sticky dots. Each dot had called attention to a small change that was needed before the drawing could be declared finalized, ready to publish. Under the photo is a head of matured wheat that my sister, Leslie, had tucked behind my favorite piece of wall art. The painting had given me the pleasure of beauty while working at my desk, creating side by side with Daddy, thinking up wild and wacky widgets, a lifetime dream on its way to fulfillment. The wheat reminds me of a future harvest, wished for and hoped for, a gift from Leslie, the little sister I loved but hadn’t really tried yet to know, the one who was very much afraid of spiders. I wonder if she still is afraid of them.

There is no need to look further. I slip out the back door clutching my box and wondering how it was that I could have been drawn almost magically through a roomful of detritus to that small buried box of memories and dreams. There is surely more to living in a physical world than can be elucidated by rational thought alone.

__Dorothy Jeanette Martin 10/9/2012

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