Thursday, May 29, 2014


Memories of Murals and Spittoons

A house's individuality and character are created by the people who occupy it. My maternal grandparents' home was unforgettably unique. Once a month when I was younger, my parents, my sister, and I journeyed to my mom's birthplace. the trip took three hours. We traveled over giant mountains and around treacherous curves. When we finally reached the home place, I was sick with joy.

As we drove up the the house, I could see a big, long-haired, mangy dog sitting on the front porch. Next to the dog stood Grandpa. He always came out on the front porch to welcome visitors, whether it was the mailman or a grandchild. It never failed that Grandpa had on blue jean overalls, a white shirt, and an old baseball cap hiding the snow-covered fuzz sprinkled over his head. Also, parked on the front porch was a big riding lawn mower bleached by the sun until it had no discernible color. As I stepped onto the porch, I could see Grandma peering through the window. If the weather cooperated, all the doors and windows were open.

When I walked into the living room, I always noticed Grandpa's big wooden rocking chair. It sat next to the front window; he could see the road and who was coming. Grandma relaxed in a rocking chair like Grandpa's, but his always seemed special to me. He would rock each of his grandchildren on his lap. I remember the squeaking of the chair as we swayed back and forth like the gently rocking of a boat. Grandpa took us back in time with the creaking of his chair. He told many stories and nursery rhymes. My favorite was the one about Jack and Nory. When Grandpa was tired of telling stories and his grandchildern were pestering him, he would tell the story of Jack and Nory. He would say, "I'll tell you a story of Jack and Nory, and now my story's begun. I'll tell you another about his brother and now my story's done."

Grandpa chewed Good Money tobacco. I never felt left out; he always asked if I wanted some tobacco. Grandma complained because Grandpa chewed on his tobacco without his teeth in his mouth. He kept a giant whiskey-barrel next to his chair where he sat his tobacco-stained spittoon. Grandma scolded Grandpa to hide his spittoon when company came to visit.

The kitchen was the biggest room of the house. In the kitchen, Grandma entertained her children. In addition to the usual kitchen appliances and conveniences, my grandma's kitchen overflowed with a couch, a sewing machine, a twin bed , and a wood stove. I do not recall eating wonderful meals in Grandma's kitchen. I remember watching my mom and her brothers and sisters sit around the table. They talked about their families and days gone by.

My favorite room was off the back porch, Grandpa's room. Grandpa and Grandma did not share the same bedroom because Grandpa had cancer. He would wake up numerous times in the night. I recall sleeping in the living room and awakening to the sound of footsteps in the kitchen and the sight of shadows bouncing on the wall. Grandpa's room was small. It had just enough space to walk around the bed. Above the bed, a mural covered the entire wall. The painting was a farm scene with bright green rolling hills and a deep blue sky. The mural was not a work of art, but it looked like a masterpiece to a child.

When it was time to leave, we shared hugs and said our goodbyes. As we drove off, I always looked back through the rear window of our car. I can still see Grandpa on the front porch waving goodbye.
I wrote this paper during my college English class. I just thought I'd share it with some folks that might appreciate it.


The 4th Sister said...

I do not remember reading this...It is BEAUTIFUL!

Sister--Three said...

This brought back a lot of memories.Those shadows were from the flashlight he carried to see when he got up.