Friday, February 28, 2014

Flash! Its Friday!

The wife and I went for a drive today. What else were we supposed to do? It's Sunday.

We were driving and talking, like we do most Sundays, driving aimlessly, again, like we do most Sundays. Sometimes just flipping a coin at an intersection; Heads is Right; Tails is Left kind of thing.

Next thing we know, the territory is beginning  to look familiar. And then we saw the Old Wood Church and we knew; we were close to Home. Not home, where we live, but Home, where we grew up. It had been a few years since we had been up this way, so we decided to drive past the old Home Place to see how she was fairing. I had the camera with me, so I took a picture. The old Place ain't fairing well, is it?

You wouldn't know it by looking at it, but Ma and Pa raised up seven of us there. 5 of us boys and the two girls. Juney- she was the youngest- she stayed on to tend to Ma after Pa died and then lived there on her own after Ma died for a couple of years. But she's been gone to Prestonburg probably better then 15 years. My brother Harold owns the place now; he lives in a new place he built when him and Jess married 30 some years ago up around the bend. Harold and I haven't spoke a word since Ma's funeral; Jess started laying claim to some of Ma's things right there over her coffin and Harold backed her up. He's never apologized; the first words I'll hear him say in 15 years had better be 'I'm sorry'.

Sister Emily, she's the oldest, married while we was all kids. Here and her family lived over around Nellytown 'til Emily got the Cancer and died young. We kept up with her husband- Rick? Nick? something like that- and the kids until he remarried; She was a widow with money, and next thing you know our kind wasn't for the likes of them. We hear from them when one of the kids gets married or graduates from something, but that's about it.

We lost two boys in the war; Pete was on the Arizona on December 7th and John went missing in action on D-Day. The wife and I did make to Pearl to pay our respects to Pete; first trip we took after I retired, and we've had plans several times to get to Normandy, but something always seemed to come up, and now we're worried that were just to danged old.

Then there's Ellis. He always was the one on the edge of being crazy, or maybe he was just on the edge of being a genius; sometimes its hard to tell.

Ellis was the one who was always looking for that better way of doing something. Sometimes he found it, sometimes he didn't. Like the time he cut down two hoes and figured out a way to bolt them to his boots. He hated handling a hoe, and figured this way he could just walk through the corn, hoeing a row with each foot. He wound up cutting more corn that he did weeds, and when Pa saw what he did to a pair of hoes, he lit him up like a house a-fire.

Then there was the time we were berry picking and Ellis was tired of getting scratched all up and down his arms, so he stole a fork from Ma's good set of silverware, the set her Aunt Mable gave her as a wedding present, and proceeded to use it to pick berries by slipping the tines around the stem and flicking the berry into the air and catching it with the berry pail. Well, catching it with the pail sometimes. And he was picking berries at half the rate the rest of us was.

And then he dropped Ma's fork. When Pa found out he lit him up again. Only half the berries got picked- the birds got the rest of them- because we all stopped picking berries to find Ma's fork. We found the fork, but lost the light. Every Sunday morning for the next year Pa would remind us we could only have one biscuit with blackberry jam, because the birds got the berries instead of Ma. Be sure to thank Ellis.

I guess Ellis was more genius than crazy; he finally got one of his inventions to work, sold the patent, and himself, to John Deere; he's been working with them for the last 40 years out in Moline. Sends a card every Christmas and box of Holly Farm's cheese.

Sometimes it hard to think about how close we were then, and how far apart now. Emily, Pete and John passed on; Ellis out in Moline. We drive over to Prestonburg to see Juney one Sunday a month and go out to dinner someplace nice, like Big Boy. She never married; works in an office where they sell something or the other. Her and the wife chat on the phone dang near every evening but all I ever get is a quick 'Hey Junior; Elly home?'. And then there's Harold.

I wonder if he's home, since we're out this way.

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