Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Walls

Rural Alabama.  Swallowed by kudzu and red clay.   Names like Eufaula and Reeltown, Loachapoka, Notasulga and Selma rattle loose in my thinker.  Those are Alabama.  Standing stark against modern Auburn, its bohemian-cum-intellectual university culture; Gulf Shores, try…ttt…try…ttt…try as it might to attract young’uns with beaches and golf; Birmingham, with fancy urban temptations. 

My momma was born in Eufaula.  And for as long as he could, her Pawpaw remained there.  His house was a time machine.  Where reality laughed at vintage notions.  Technology an afterthought, dangling from one shoddy wall outlet to the next.  Where the concept of plumbing was the grandchild of the original floor plan.  Where the quilts were made by the hands of the cold, and chairs by the hands of those tired of standing. 

The house was older than him, Pawpaw already quite the dinosaur back then.  A towering man is who I remember.  Leaning with age.  Khakis and heavy black boots, function for the working man.  He creaked.  And though dust had not yet claimed him, he smelled of it.  

It was something much simpler, though, that called to my little doll eyes.  More than the exposed plumbing or enlarging black mole on Pawpaw's left cheek, it was the walls that tugged on me.  More specifically, watching the beams of sunlight breaking through their cracks.  Or darklight.  Or rainshadows.  Or bugs.  That house was from a time when pee beckoned man into the night.  Darkness chased him to bed.   When man came from the dirt and the dirt fed him, so little removed from the wilds from which he crawled.  There, Pawpaw’s tacked wires and PVC pipe evidenced man’s brittle conquest over nature.  And there gaped the cracks in the very thing that holds us still.  And as I sit, I find myself a bit envious of Pawpaw’s walls.  Solid against the menace of storm, yet arms open to the fantasy of wilder things.  It’s strange the silly things we remember from childhood.  I named my son after Pawpaw. 
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Trifecta Week Forty- Dinosaur
3: one that is impractically large, out-of-date, or obsolete
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5 comments:

  1. Your words paint a vivid picture. I can see the house and Pawpaw as I'm sitting here.I love the line, "...though dust had not yet claimed him, he smelled of it."

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  2. Extremely evocative and beautifully written.

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  3. old houses can evoke so much. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to live without all the modern day conveniences.

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  4. I spent so much time in alabama (college) that I could feel, smell, and hear this piece.

    evocative is a perfect word for this.

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  5. You depict such a strong image of old times, of the South as it was. I loved the line, When man came from the dirt and the dirt fed him. Nice work. Thanks for playing along with us again this week. Please come on back tomorrow for the new challenge.

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