Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dirty Toes

I traveled to a small town in Arkansas over Memorial Day weekend. This is an annual journey, as I have family there and so we gather. Usually it's a large group including my mom, most all of my living aunts and uncles, most of my cousins, and all of the youngest generation. This year much of my family wasn't able to be present, so I left my kiddos and the hubs at home and just journeyed with my oldest son and my mom. We were able to visit with all 3 of my moms brothers, my aunt Peg, and my cousin Stuart. It was a great time to just visit with adults. On one of the days there, my aunt Peg drove some of us to various cemeteries. I hadn't been in a very long time. My aunt Brenda died almost 8 years ago, so I guess that is how long it has been. I cannot even remember the last time I went just to take time to reflect and share stories. I really enjoyed it.

There is something incredibly beautiful and peaceful about an old country cemetery. Some of the old stones are worn and hard to read. For some reason, I enjoyed walking around and even reading the stones of people from other families. It is so hard to really grasp that someone could be enjoying life today and in the ground next week. It occurred to me that cemeteries are intended to be maintained forever. Our bodies will be in the ground longer than they walked the earth, no matter how old a person is when he/she dies. Nothing can really outlast a dead body. I guess that is why it is so important to us to have a peaceful place to rest those bones.

The house in the photo above was also a stop on our journey. I've been thinking about this place a lot since that weekend. I don't guess you can really call it a house anymore. The sides and the back of the house are completely gone. It is being held up by a tree. This is the house where my mom was born in 1942. And yes, she was actually delivered by a doctor inside this little house. It belonged to her grandparents, my great-grandparents. My mom was the firstborn of 8 kids. Her parents lived in St. Louis and I believe that my grandfather (her dad) was in the military, so her momma came home to Arkansas to be with her parents while she delivered her first baby. This home apparently was a popular hub of many visitors for many years. My mom, being the very first grandbaby, was adored. And this little house at the end of a gravel road, surrounded by God's impeccable beauty, was a haven and a playground for years to come. A few of her siblings have fond memories of this old country house.

I made my way onto the property that day by squeezing through some fence posts that I assume were designed to keep me out. There were orange lily's growing at the front. I observed acres and acres and acres of rolling hills as far as the eye could see. I truly could not get over the beauty of that land and the peacefulness surrounding. Other than the deterioration of the house itself, I imagine that the land and the surroundings can't look all that much different than when my mom was a little girl. I was so jealous in a good way, at the thought of how amazing it must have been a kid at that place back then. I imagined my mom and her other siblings running around that land and getting their little toes dirty. I'm a big fan of dirty toes on tiny feet.

My aunt Peg told me a great story about the last time my family members (without me) visited this old house. I think it was in 2009. They went inside what is left of the house and one of them peeled off a little piece of wallpaper to save as a keepsake. Behind the wallpaper was homemade insulation. I guess they would just collect newspapers and other paper products and compile layers of it on the wall over time for insulation. They found an envelope to my Mama from my Papa when they must have been newlyweds. They are buried together now in the old country cemetery, resting their bones.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

What a cool story. I can't believe they lived in such a tiny house. We are so spoiled now, and yet so deprived of gorgeous views and time to sit and relax on the porch. I'm jealous, too.