I took this photograph around ten years ago on a weekend getaway to visit a friend in the Texas hill country. I always enjoyed that drive we took; this image always stuck in my mind. I always wondered what had happened.
The old house looks like it’s been abandoned for years. The windows are all broken out. Probably from people throwing rocks, and the yard is overgrown. It’s hard to tell how old the house is, but it makes you think of the people there. Were they happy or miserable? What happened that they just left? Inside are all the furnishings, some clothes, and an old pair of boots. It’s like they just went one day and never came back. You can’t help but wonder what happened to the people who used to live there.
I always wanted to write something, never a book, maybe just a story or two. So I decided to try. To be upfront, I am using Grammarly; for punctuation. Trust me, you want and need me to. I’m going to call my stories Going Across; at some point, I will explain why I chose that name. A couple of people from back home will probably figure it out.
I picture a story from long ago that goes like this…Going Across- The Old Farmhouse
Can you imagine trying to work on this rocky ground? It’s hard to imagine how someone could do it, but someone did. That someone was my grandparents. They lived on this rocky land with nothing but a mule with a bad attitude on its good days. The plow had seen better days after hitting so many limestone rocks. There were a handful of chickens and a milking cow. It’s no wonder that they were always so tired. And yet, they never complained. They worked from sunup to sundown and were always so grateful for what they had. Even though they didn’t have much, they were happy. But then, one day, my grandfather got sick. He was coughing up blood, and he couldn’t stop. My grandmother did everything she could, but there was nothing she could do. He was getting weaker and weaker, and she knew he would die. So she did the only thing she could think of to do. She got him on the mule and walked into town. Pulling the mule when he wanted to stop. She took my grandfather to the hospital. And he died there, in that hospital.
After that, grandma never went back to the farm. She was leaving it just as she did when leading that mule. Grandma stayed in town with her sister, working at the local five and dime. Then one day, a man came and wanted to lease the land for cattle. Grandma agreed. It was decent money, not enough for grandma to quit working. A year later, that man came and wanted to buy the land. Grandma also agreed to sell the land but not the house. The house was never to be touched. Once every few years, Grandma would go with a small bucket of red paint and paint the door. Grandma, too, is long past, but I go every few years with a bucket of red paint. While I paint the door, I think of her teaching me to churn butter or her in the rocking chair shelling peas.