Sunday, October 25, 2015
The Round House
This little house sits on the hill above the New River in Mouth of Wilson. It is where my family spent every summer, swimming, playing, fishing, jumping from the porch, and watching the night lights. I had my worst case of poison ivy Ever In the History Of the World here after I fell from my bike smack into the midst of a poison ivy bed. We worked puzzles, tons of puzzles, under the downstairs porch.
Long before this rail was installed, my siblings and I would take a run-and-go from the second story and fling ourselves into the open space, hoping to fly, and land with a THUD! right by my Mother's feet as she sat downstairs reading, napping, or working her puzzles. No doubt she stayed a nervous wreck, but we had a terrific time sailing to the ground and sinking to our ankles in the soft ground below.
We slept on the porch, in sleeping bags, waking up wet from dew, with the morning sun dazzling on the river below. Mother would have coffee perking, biscuits in the oven, and fresh fish frying. We caught them in the evening and put them in the holding pool next to the kitchen for our morning nosh. Then, we would rush upstairs, throw on bathing suits (was there really a time I wasn't self-conscious enough I'd wear one all day?), and hop on our bikes to ride the dirt road to the "waterfall" to play. Scabs covered our knees (I wasn't graceful, after all) and we smelled of sunshine, water, and dirt. Pure health....
The "bathroom" consisted of a small toilet and sink. We bathed, even though we spent the day in the water, in a wash tub. I was first, so the water was cleanest then. By the time my baby sister got in, the water would be nearly as muddy as the dusty holes in the dirt road. The nights would be cool and we'd run to jump in our sleeping bags, ready to watch the stars, speculate about space men, and build our castles in the air.
The kitchen had an enormous rock in the middle that the original builders couldn't get out of the door, so we had to walk around it to get to the refrigerator. The wiring was DC, so we had a rubber mat in front of the fridge to avoid the pending shock from touching the door and grounding ourselves. If one were angry with a certain, a-hem, brother, she would step from the mat, touch the brother, and then the door. Instant revenge!
Below, the river would continue her centuries old song, lulling us to sleep. She sang of Scot-Irish who traveled this river to "discover" the "Natives" who had lived here for millennia. She sang of floods and droughts and log canoes. She sang of her journey north, as the New River is one of two rivers in the world that flows northward. Today, she is a protected River, a "national treasure." But, to a handful of small children, she was the world. Our days revolved around her -- both in and out.
I miss those days. I miss the innocence and I miss the shocking blue sky. I miss wearing my bathing suit all day. And, I miss gathering berries, nuts, creek lettuce, and catching fish for our dinner. Most of all, I miss the swinger of trees and catcher of fireflies that I was. When do we grow old? One day at a time or just all at once?? Yet, when I go to the river, I am young again...at least for a moment....