Comber, Aunt Jane's Gem
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(Aunt Jane’s Gem)
“WELCOME to COMBER.” Population 400.
A ragged yet familiar greeting this weathered old wooden sign,
announcing ones arrival to this humble Hamlet. It’s dingy yellow paint
peeling in places—the stenciled black lettering faded—is unpretentious like its citizens.
My eyes are then drawn to a tall standing soldier—the Towns oldest structure—the Flour Mill. Mossy green and Industrial gray hues (also in dire need of a fresh paint job) reveal the passing of its former glory; yet still exudes an aura of charm.
An azure blue sky dotted with clouds looking as though a large hand had reached into a huge jar full of cotton balls, then setting each one in its place, makes for a lovely back drop.
My nostrils then expand, my eyes close, as a cool autumn breeze awakens my senses while sweeping the aroma of stale crushed grain past my face.
This place calms my cluttered mind—unseen arms embrace me—a touch so tranquil, the hairs on the back of my neck stand upright. How sad that the old boy now only houses barn swallows, a few stray cats, and a bevy of mice.
The croaking of a large Bullfrog tickles my ears, causing me to look away from the mill. I move toward the creek and grab hold of a cattail. The snapping sound as the stem breaks, stills the frog’s serenade. “Plunk” a small circle of ripples the only trace of his exit. The smell of rotted leaves and a bloated muskrat the only undesirable distraction of a memorable and pleasant experience.
My ears are pierced by the deafening sound of a shrill whistle, announcing the arrival of the 12:45 train approaching from the east. The ground beneath my feet begins to vibrate tickling my toes. Just yards away the tracks grumble and groan in response. Soon she zooms past me. I am barely able to stay standing. My hair dances atop my head as my shirt tries desperately to join the train on her journey, flapping against my skin like a flag on a windy day. As the caboose shakes its farewell; I run to the tracks bending down placing my hands on the rails. The heat from the meshing of wheels and rails warms my fingers like fresh rolls from the oven.
Back on the sidewalk, my eyes follow the crooked concrete walkway. Cracked and worn it escorts me like a royal courier to the Grand ole Dame herself. She has graced this same spot for over a century. Her beauty and charm are found in simplicity. This Gem is neither fancy nor overdone, unlike the embellishments adorning her Victorian counterparts residing uptown. As Aunt Jane would say, “straight lines, practical, as a sensible house should be.” Yes the one true beauty mark amidst all her sensibility, is the wrap around porch, with its many carved posts and starchy white spindles.
It suits her--completing her look—like Aunt Jane’s Apron, her modest country home like a cherished old painting, still hangs framed within the walls of my heart.
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