This Old House

This is virgin land, and it's so quiet out here you can hear your own pulse. As a boy, I hated the country. I couldn't wait to get away. Now it's the stuff my dreams get made of.

This house is old. And the overgrown yard needs a good cutting. Maybe I’ll jump on my cousin’s mower and give it a trim.


I don’t know what I like about antique houses. It could be that the floorboards make noise when you walk on them. Or maybe it’s the air conditioning window-units that look like leftovers from the Eisenhower Administration.

Out back is a gargantuan tree. The squirrels are playing a game of tag in it. They look like they’re trying to kill each other.

The kitchen has rolls of vinyl laid on the ground, like area rugs. If you lift the corners, you can see daylight through the gaps in the floor.

There is no dishwasher, no garbage disposal. No coffeemakers, either. Only a stained, aluminum device that looks like it’s still celebrating D-Day.

The living room stinks of mildew. They say three generations have held funeral visitations in that room. Only, folks didn’t call it a living room back then. They called it a parlor.

But, parlors aren’t important to me today. The only places that matter are the porch, the refrigerator, and the pond.

This is virgin land, and it’s so quiet out here you can hear your own pulse. As a boy, I hated the country. I couldn’t wait to get away. Now it’s the stuff my dreams get made of.

Speaking of dreams, I had one last night. And it marks the only time I’ve ever had a flying-dream—pleasant dreams have never been common to me. I used to have bad dreams five nights per week. In fact, I had so many, that by age eighteen, nightmares didn’t even bother me.

Anyhow, in last night’s dream, I’d run as fast as I could, leaning forward, sailing into the air. I didn’t even have to spread my arms. I zipped through the sky like someone shot me from a potato gun.

Below, I could see a quilt-work of farmland—trees tall enough to qualify as national monuments, navy-blue ponds. I saw the whole stinking world. I saw this place.

I saw ball-fields, where a chubby first-baseman used to punch his glove and say, “C’mon batter, you couldn’t hit a barn if you ran into one!”

And when I woke, I was here. In the country. A place reminding me that nothing sad lasts forever. Not nightmares, not hate, not headlines, not war. Not even pitiful childhoods that would’ve been better off not happening.

This is Alabama. And this is no dream.

I think I’ll mow this grass.

1 comment

  1. Tish - July 25, 2016 2:29 pm

    WOW just WOW !!!


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