Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abandoned Houses

 Once upon a time.......

a pioneer toiled and sweat building this stone home for his family.  I'm supposing he was married and had children.  How many?  Well, we'll never know.  We also won't know the mysteries and secrets that these walls saw and heard and continue to keep.  If only we could ask and get answers.

Far too many abandoned houses in the country these days, and I can't help but feel sad when I see their distinctive architecture left to ruin.  Stone structuress intrigue me the most, because the home I was born into was a 3-story old stone house.  For me, they hold another dimension of curiosity.  Where was the stone quarried?  How was it cut into blocks so the walls would be straight and even?  How long did it take to build?

Kerosene lamps and candles likely lit this home, and a wood stove kept the family warm during the cold months of the year.  Trees had to be felled, chopped into fire wood, lugged into the house, someone needed to tend the fire night and day, and the ashes then carried outside.  Floors needed sweeping often, and everyday life required the individual efforts of every family member old enough to pitch in.

What we today know as sports were at at the time the source of putting food on the table.  I know personally what that was like, because that's what my parents had to do to keep us kids fed.  Friday night fish fries today entice us to eat out, but while I was growing up meals of fried fish were the norm.....as was pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, and venison.  I'd watch daddy clean a squirrel on a little gizmo he rigged up on the spring house wall with two hooks.  The two of us visited while he skinned the critters, but for the life of me I can't remember what we ever talked about.  All I remember was that he was serious about what he was doing, and, for me, it was something to do.

So much history around us sitting on hillsides and down in valleys.  Skeletal remains of homes from the past gracing our countryside, forgotten, worn and weary.  So many life occurrences happened inside them, families were raised, children born, family members died, birthdays celebrated, and in many houses the abusive situations prevailed.  All we can do now is fantasize about the dilapidated dwellings, the times of laughter, the times of tears, the long and hard hours of work, and the relationships within.  

Someday our home, too, will leave its present condition and someone of another generation will wonder about us and what our lives were like.  Sometimes I look at our home and try to imagine who will live in it after we are gone.  Will they take good care of it?  Will they love it the way we do?  Will they feel the good times and the sad times we will leave behind?  Nah, they'll only be able to fantasize according to the way they themselves choose to think.  That's just the way it goes.