Friday Fiction: "House for Sale"

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House For Sale:
5 bdrms, lg kit, dinrm, livrm,
barn, sheds, 10 acres, pond
(207-123-000) $200,000

I count each letter again to make sure I didn’t exceed the limit. It looks so plain, so cold. It doesn’t really say anything. There is so much more. As I sit at the kitchen table, I watch the chickadees peck at their seeds and write a new one in my mind.

Family Home Reluctantly Must Be Sold

It is a sturdy house, built by my great grandfather for his beautiful bride, with plenty of room for his children and their children to live and laugh and love. The heavy front door stands guard, yet welcomes the weary traveler. Grandma’s rose bushes still bloom along the front porch.

The stairs, worn smooth by dozens of sleepy feet, lead up to the bedrooms, each with an eastern window to wake them each morn. You can probably find a stray feather or two from dozens of pillow fights. There’s still a bunk bed in the front room, a little wobbly from use, but my uncle’s name, Billy, is scratched in the boards under the top bunk.

Another bedroom, the master bedroom, sits majestically at the back end of the hall. The big poster bed reigns supreme, matching the solid oak wardrobe. The whole room is filled with the love of my parents and their parents, too. The tears of mourning, the whispers of love, the laughter of birth still float from the shadowy corners.

A huge braided rug covers the wide pine boards on the living room floor. The reds are from Grandpa’s old woolen hunting coat and the grays and blacks from his Sunday meeting suit. A dark upright piano stands in the corner, its keys worn thin. The stool squeaks when it turns, but the cushion was hand-stitched by my mother. If you listen carefully, you can still hear voices blended in harmony ‘neath “The Old Rugged Cross.”

The bathroom is small, but adequate, framed into the corner of the spacious dining room. Uncle Rick installed it as a gift to Grandma, so they wouldn’t have to use the outhouse anymore. She cheered and clapped over the luxury of it. The tub has four claw feet and a rubber stopper. Its depth makes a nice pool at the end of a hot summer day.

The kitchen is the best room in the house. There’s still a cast iron sink, but the hand pump has long been replaced. The old wood stove will chase away the chill of a rainy day. It was all Grandma used when she baked bread and canned tomatoes and fried molasses doughnuts until the gas range was installed. There are canning jars on the pantry shelves, waiting for someone to fill them with apple jelly and pickles. The pantry door is marked with generations of measurements from toddlers to teens.

The screen door screeches as it opens, and many a child has heard the words “Don’t slam the screen door!” The porch swing is the perfect spot to read your favorite book or snap beans for supper. A gentle breeze sends a scent of lily-of-the-valley or lilacs or fresh mown hay, whichever season you happen to be there. It’s beautiful to watch a rain shower from the porch swing, being outside but not getting wet. You may even be blessed with a rainbow.

The row of sheds and attics that lead to the barn makes a wonderland of mystery and adventure. Years of horse tack, rakes, scythes, axes, and saws hang from nails on the walls. Mice scurry in the hay mows, now that the cats and their kittens are gone. There’s plenty of room for chickens and ducks, and even a pig or two. There are stalls for horses and pens for the cows and their calves. It’s too empty, too quiet.

The pond is great for fishing and catching frogs, and in winter, it’s nice for skating with friends. The rolling fields provide hay, of course, but are also the best place to walk in the evening twilight or toboggan on a snowy afternoon. The orchard trees are sweet and bountiful, as are the patches of berries and herbs. All is hushed… waiting for the family to come back.

House For Sale:
5 bdrms, lg kit, dinrm, livrm,
barn, sheds, 10 acres, pond
(207-123-000) $200,000

I sigh as I seal the envelope and put it in the mailbox. I hope there are no replies.

(EC winner of FaithWriters' Weekly Challenge)

(This is my dream old family farm with lots of memories.)


LauraLee Shaw said...

My dream house too. (sigh). This is masterfully written. One of my favs of yours.

The Surrendered Scribe said...

Your attention to detail is such a gift. I almost reached out to touch the railing and the screen door. It definitely belonged in the EC win category.

Kim Kasch said...

I bought my house from my Mom and Dad. It was the house I was raised in so I can really relate to this post.

I met you at Rachelle's blog and popped over here to say "hi".

Betsy Markman said...

I remember reading this in the challenge, and I loved it just as much reading it again now. Just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorites of yours. So much detail.

Patty Wysong said...

I looooooved this Vonnie! (and yes, I knew it was yours--you left the ME area code on it and it gave me SUCH a laugh!! Oh all weeks!) LoL

This was excellent!


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