Halfway down a dead-end street a tiny two bedroom house sits on its overgrown lot. Hundreds of tiny feet pounded the soil, preventing anything from growing in the red clay that surrounded the small structure, but now grass grows with abandon. Hickory bushes are overgrown where they were once kept well pruned by the many mothers who ripped the tender shoots to discipline their children. Ladderback chairs are missing from the front corner beneath the branches of the Mimosa tree, where mother and daughters once gathered to share the news of the family. The distinct smell of Juicy fruit gum given by Granddaddy no longer floats on the air as it is shared by the grandchildren.
No more cornbread and pinto beans will be cooked or served in the kitchen. The slamming screen door has ceased. Cucumbers and tomatoes that once provided food for many families no longer grow along the railroad tracks. Linoleum worn through to the subfloor no longer feels the many feet that once tramped past Granddaddy’s green recliner in the living room.
An eerie silence has replaced the sound of Braves baseball blaring from a television set. The strum of guitars and harmonious voices of brothers and sisters arbitrarily joining in random songs have evaporated, leaving a void where there once was life and excitement. Baying coonhounds and crowing roosters are a faint memory. Winter’s chill permeates the rooms that were once overheated by a red-hot wood heater crammed into the corner of the living room. There are no more crying babies being passed from aunt to uncle or grandmother to grandfather. No snores will fill the rooms tonight as the moon shines down on the multicolored roof covered by layer upon layer of cheap rolled roofing.
The bent nails on the front porch, a poor mans substitute for a hook, hang empty of the flowers that once decorated the entryway. Windows and doors once stayed propped open. forever closed. A majestic oak tree stands guard over the old house providing the backyard with shade. Children once surrounded its base, escaping imaginary alligators by climbing on gnarly roots. Life and love that once abounded in and around this old house has vanished but the memories that were made and the love shared lives on in my heart forever.