Friday Fiction "House for Sale"

Peej, from Patterings has allowed me to host Friday Fiction this week. If you would like to join us, post a story on your blog and leave your name and url on Mr. Linky at the bottom of this page.

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 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 voiced 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.


Hoomi said...

Such a nice portrait of a home. I still sometimes wish I could have kept my grandparents' place after Grandpa died. It's hard to think of it in terms of real estate value, when memories are so priceless.

LauraLee Shaw said...

Yvonne, this is one of my favs of yours, and of course, it takes me back to memories...good and not so sweet too. I often think of my childhood home, and maybe one day I'll have to take the time to write about it. Thank YOU!

Dee Yoder said...

Nothing can take the place of those childhood memories of home. Everything seemed grander, lusher, friendlier, and warm in in our memories.

Joanne Sher said...

Remember and LOVE this one so much! Amazing descriptions and authentic sentiment. Thanks for hosting :)

The Surrendered Scribe said...

Love it, there just are things you can't put a price on---memories are such a thing. Thanks for the great story and hosting FF!

Patty Wysong said...

I love this one. (I was judging the week this was in the WC and I got such a kick out of recognizing the area code!) Great story, Vonnie!!

Thanks for hosting for us!

Teresa Lee Rainey . . . said...

This brings up such sweet memories of my grandparents home. Beautifully told, Yvonne, thank you.

Shelley Ledfors said...

I remember this one, and love it. It's so poignant. Thanks for sharing it here.

S.C.(S.Harricharan) said...

Awww! I remember this. A wonderful, bittersweet story whic truly captures what a 'home' is. Lovely! Glad I got to read it again.

Anonymous said...

I love this one! Sunny

Stina Rose said...

Wonderful! Some things really can never be replaced with money. How do you put a price on a lifetime of love?

BethL said...

This is so bitter/sweet with warm nostaligia wrapping itself around you. It makes me homesick.. :)


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