Exploring the Past August 27, 2020

As a child, I loved to visit my Grandma Jennie and Grandpa Cliff. The house was full of hidden surprises and full candy dishes. But when the weather allowed, I went to explore the backyard.This large yard was divided into two sections by a gated fence. It was double the size of most yards.My first play place was the bulkhead doors that covered the stone stairs leading into the basement. These doors were locked most of the time. I spent many hours sliding down the doors, until Grandma warned that I would fall down the stairs . Wandering further into the yard, I located an old chicken coop. Now it was filled with discarded outdoor furniture, a rusty grill and pieces of wood. I could image the time when the coop was full of roosting chickens.When my Dad was a Senior in High School, he wanted a tux to wear to the senior prom. He asked Grandpa for the needed amount. and was turned down with the words,”Earn the money.” This was during the Depression and jobs didn’t pay enough for such a purchase. He would have to find another way.He went to the butcher to ask about the price of chickens. He entered the coop and counted the hens. He caught, killed and presented the carcasses to the butcher. In return, he had the money for a tux.I smiled to think my Dad got in trouble after Grandpa thought that the hens were stolen! After the confession, my Dad reminded Grandpa that he still had his rooster.I would play house in the coop until lunch time. My Grandma would scold me because I was dirty and my hair was covered with cobwebs. After lunch, I would return to the yard to explore the far backyard. The gate squeaked and added to the creepy feeling of the place. Grandpa had his fruit trees and garden in this yard. He grew the best tomatoes. In a bird house hung too low for the birds, He kept a large salt shaker. He would select a ripe tomato and eat it right from the vine with a liberal shake of salt. He would let me select a smaller fruit and we would sit under the old oak eating the fruit.Finally, I would wander to the far fence . There I would look into the town’s cemetery. I recalled the story of my Dad being late for high school, He bolted the fence and ran through the cemetery pretending the tombstones were blockers on a football field. He would enter the doors of the school as the final bell would sound.Now the yard has changed hands and the chicken coop is long gone, the memories and stories remain.********************

Digging for Memories.

I wander to the far backyard.To see changes from my youth.The fruit trees are gone with a tennis court in their place.I find the corner where my Grandfather grew tomatoes.The area is choked with weeds and vines.I sit and aimlessly sift in the dirt.My fingers touch a small mental object. It is the top of the salt shaker from the bird house.I stare at the memory and drop it into my pocket.

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