I haven’t seen mom in 26 years. I haven’t been to her grave, where she sleeps next to dad, in more than 20 years.
But I’m going tomorrow, and take a rose, and place it there for her.
I’ll walk the dusty red road by her mothers place, look to see if the frame of the root cellar might still be there in the bank of the hill. When we were kids, into it we would peer, and shudder at the thought of what may be inside the cool dark earth.
Down the drive I’ll stroll past the big planter next to the black walnut tree; the well has been gone for some time, but likely there will be a trace, and I will remember trying to find my mother on the big porch.
I had lost her apron among all the other aprons, and I went to Uncle Jack, who told me she had fallen into the well.
“How do I get her back?” I asked in tears.
“Go turn the faucet in the kitchen on” he had told me.
What a bastard, that Uncle Jack.
I’ll look to see if my cousins homemade horse pen is still there, rustic and made from several hundred saplings, held into an almost perfect circle by baling wire and whatever, and by the sheer strength of Kevins cowboy ways.
Next door to my mothers mothers place is my mothers mothers sisters place, from a time when family and community were indistinguishable, a time when towns were just big families, and you only needed a few families and a couple of loners to make a town. A time before the family’s had all scattered. Both house’s both looked the same, with the well, and the wrap around porch, the fig trees and plum trees from which jellys and preserve were made. Under pecan trees in the back yard there would be a stove, used for canning during the summer, sitting there bare like the trees in the winter, under the glare of the Vapor light.
I'll look to see if the big iron cauldron is still there, right in the middle of the yard, used for boiling cane and sorghum to make the syrup and molasses Uncle Jack liked on his bisquits in the morning.
I’ll walk back out to the road, along the stretch I remember from when I was a very little boy and my cousin Patricia had taken me by the hand and we picked flowers from the roadside to make a bouquet. I thought she was beautiful, this young girl Pat who would become Miss Little Rock a few years later, and maybe tomorrow there will be flowers for me to pick, and to place there for Pats mother, my mothers sister. Maybe there will be enough blooms for all four sisters; raised in Alto Texas, they are together in Alto Texas, still.
Maybe there will be flowers enough for all the great aunts, and all the grandfathers and grandmothers, all the cousins and second cousins, and half brothers.
Maybe there will even be one tiny one for Uncle Jack, the good man with the barbed wire wit and big heart.
It seems certain parts of the family haven’t scattered after all.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Posted by bulletholes at 10:49 AM