a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Old House Still Stood

me 003

smothered in the fog of a cold winter morning.  It was vacant and stood in my memories as long as the mountains around it.

Approaching carefully, knowing this ramshackle old house was empty, I stepped up and through the open door.

The kitchen lean-to was filled with old kitchen things and an antique wood cook stove…I smelled coffee.

Embarrassed by my trespassing, I  turned to leave when a voice, as ancient and rusty as the stove, spoke from the other room.

“Sit a spell”, the  voice said, “Pull up a chair” as he pointed to an old hickory cane bottomed chair. 
Handing me a tin cup, full of hot coffee, he spoke again, “Black’s all I got, but you’re welcome to a cup.”

I sat, I sipped, as the coffee made my taste buds dance, I waited for him to speak again.

The rocking chair creaked as he rocked, slowly. I waited for him to speak, to shout about my intrusion, to say something to absolve me of my guilt.

“The weather’s turning”, he mentioned casually as if I were a long time friend.  “How’s the coffee?” he enquired.  “I like a touch of chicory, takes me back to a time when we didn’t have coffee.”

Speechless, I nodded in agreement as he rocked and rocked, always keeping his cup balanced, never losing his rhythm.

Comfortable enough to face him, Irish Blue eyes looked straight through me, filled with nothing but kindness and welcoming.  The craggy, yet boyish, face was surrounded by blonde hair turned older.  The face sported a full, thick beard as elegant as Santa’s.

Age was not a question, nor did it seem to matter.  Speaking again in that ancient voice, he asked, “Need me to warm your cup, Ma’am?” 

I offered my cup for topping off as he spoke again.  “I was born here, in that very room.  Nineteen seventeen was a long time ago.”

My voice was not needed, only my presence.

Bit by bit, he talked as if there was nothing but time.  I listened, I learned and was mesmerized by his gentle voice telling of his youth and his experiences through the years.  I could only listen.

The rain began to fall, pinging on the tin roof. I sat, he rocked.

Somehow, I dozed, waking with a start, I looked around for the gentleman I had visited with for hours.

Gone, except for the coffee cup, I called out his name.  No answer.

The rocking chair was dusty, the wood stove was cold and the open door remained open.

I think of this often as my walk takes me by the cabin.  I smell no coffee and the house remains the same.

I check, time to time, for him, but he’s never there. I only have that afternoon, in the rain, and the coffee cup as I continue to search for Chicory growing wild.

23 comments:

Journaling Woman said...

Love it, I scream.

And so it begins?

Teresa

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Wow, that was incredible! By the way, my mom loved chicory, but I've never been tough enough to handle it.

Joanne said...

Definitely leaves us wondering, as it does your character, too ...

Lynne said...

There you go again . . . Missy . . . Painting a picture with words.

EXCELLENT . . .

One day at a time said...

Oh Gail i was there with you!!! Then it ended!! I have never had tasted chicory, i want to NOW!
Best wishes jackie x

Rusty said...

Very well told. Strange in a way how it brings back memories too. Strange and uplifting at the same time. ATB!

Cara said...

A slow experience. Sometimes life is too fast and we don't really get to be in it.

Sue said...

Even ghosts get lonely, I guess...

Loved this, Gail. You have a strong voice, and you definitely should NOT break your pencil.

=)

Farm Girl said...

Beautiful, I was sitting there to rocking with you as I watched you sip the hot coffee with your friend. I enjoyed hearing the creak of the old rocker on the puncheon floor.
I can't wait to see the next time you go for a visit.
Thank you,

camp and cottage living said...

Gail
I love it. I thought it was an exert from a novel.

Judy said...

What a wonderful afternoon...Love it!!

Rob said...

I often think that old houses still have the spirits of people still living in them. I once wrote a post about an old empty place I came across on one of my walks and some time later I had someone who knew the last people to live there write to me which was quite special.

LindaG said...

Great story Gail. :)

DesertHen said...

Gail, you simply weave magic with your words!! Outstanding!

Dreaming said...

Yeah, magic... definitely!

Sandy said...

Gail, The delivery of "The Old House Still Stood" was an wonderful and a creative story. You have this passion for writing, please continue. I enjoy reading your stories and look forward to many more.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

You had me at "The old house stood still...."
How I love your stories!!

Denise said...

A wonderful story, caught me from beginning to end.

Nezzy said...

WoW sweetie, this was amazin'!!!

I truly mean it...from beginnin' to end....

more please???

Have a fantastic day my friend!!! :o)

Vickie said...

Loved this Gail. It would be a good start for a novel - do you write novels? That old man could really spin some tales and you could go back again and again...

Pat said...

I love it! This is such a great, tender story, Gail! Well written, very descriptive. Excellent post!

labbie1 said...

I'm intrigued...waiting for the next installment...

Jenny said...

Oh Gail, what a wonderful story. I loved this.

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