At Grandparents’ House

Yesterday I went to the house that was the home of my paternal grandparents. Though we all still own it, my oldest uncle likes to putter about there. So nobody has insisted that it be sold. It has been rented on occasion but is currently vacant.

Walking across the porch was like backward through time. Voices from long ago called out – sounds of past Easters. One in particular comes to mind. I was probably six or seven. We always went to the grandparent’s house right after church and always in our Easter clothes. My sister and several of the cousins decided we should cross the branch behind the house and go to the large creek just through the woods. That required jumping across the branch. The slippery new dress shoes that I had on hit a patch of wet moss and down into the water I went. And every time I got up, I slipped down again. They had to drag me out, soaking wet and muddy. Knowing our parents would be furious, we tried to figure out a way to sneak in the back and up the stairs to my aunt’s room where possibly we could fix me up so that no one would notice. We didn’t get far. And I had to wear one of my grandma’s old house dresses while we ate our fine meal of ham and all the trimmings. Occasionally I would get the ‘look’ from my mother which made me dread what was going to happen when we got back home. My clothes and shoes were ruined.

But my father seemed to be reminded of some of his own antics there and told stories of his youth slipping through the same woods. Perhaps he too had a mishap or two on that slippery moss.

It’s hard to realize how many of those faces around that Easter table are gone. Both of my grandparents, my dad and his youngest brother, both of my aunts, a cousin – a true favorite of mine as we were close in age and could laugh like only young girls can. One of my aunts – who never married – would take us shopping or on long hikes. These were special times as she lived in Virginia, my cousin in South Carolina and of course I was in North Carolina. Perhaps that is why those shared moments were so great. To think I am the only one still here of the three of us is surreal.

But they were all present yesterday – there on grandpa’s porch with the same dogwood in the same white glory and the giant hemlock dropping its tiny cones from its lacy limbs. Voices from the past alive in my heart.

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