Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Old House

When the old house was built was a mystery to everyone. It seemed to have been there forever. Surrounded by majestic old Oaks, it was very content hiding there from the passing cars. It was never painted, that was easy to see. But, that did not deflect from it’s proud looks. The weathered wood standing out, almost like that was the way it was planned from the very beginning. One of the unique places in the old house was the root cellar. It was always cool down there, even during the hottest days of summer. Shelves of dirt, dug into the walls were lined with Mason jars filled with the delicious results of the summers labors out in the garden. It was a rainbow running around the walls with the different colors of the vegetables that were preserved there.That was also where the old ice box was kept in the old days, before the wires stretched themselves out to Welti to provide electricity for refrigerators. The ice truck would run a couple times a week to deliver ice. And, of course, the driver would always chip off a little piece of ice for the kids.

There was an upstairs that was never used except for storage, and for the kids to play. But, the kids always had a little scary feeling about being up there. It was a little dark and always a little spooky, even in the broad daylight. The noises coming from up there could be explained by the adults, but the kids had other ideas about the strange noises. There was no history of anyone being murdered or dying up there, but that didn’t stop the imagination from running away with them. This only added to the mystic of the old house. The stories made up by the kids always added to the jittery feelings that they loved to have when playing up there.

But, what was best about the old house were the activities that always seemed to be causing a little excitement, especially on Sunday afternoons. All the adults would gather at the old house for lunch, some horse shoe pitching, and ice cream making, and of course the cousins would be there. Hid and seek and tag were two of the games the younger kids would play. And there were hundreds of places to hide which made the games that much more fun. Lunch was a big happening at the old house. It was a custom that the adults always ate first, then the kids would gather around the table for their turn. And, there was always plenty to eat, for everyone. But, the big event came in the mid afternoon after everyone sat around on the porch digesting the lunch, or the men had finished several games of dusty horse shoes out at the barn. When it was all done, everyone would gather on the porch for making ice cream. The men would take turns cranking the old ice cream makers and the kids would sit on top of it to hold it steady. They would sit as long as they could stand it, but finally the cold would creep through the short pants they all wore and they would have to jump up, only to be replaced by another one waiting his turn on the bucket. And the efforts were very richly rewarded when the ice cream was served up.

As the sun was setting on the old house, the men were resting on the porch, their bellies full of ice cream, the women were inside, maybe working on a quilt, and the kids were still running around, but with not nearly as much energy as they started the day with. The fun was almost over for another week and you could almost see the satisfaction reflecting from the windows of the old house. If a house can smile, the old house was smiling.

Written and owned by: Jack Aldridge
Photo property of: Jack Aldridge