Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: Home on the Hill
By Sue Durand
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It sits on a hill by itself. The cedar hedge, planted by my then 12-year old uncle, now hides the white two-story house. We used that hedge as our twisting follow-the-leader path when we were small. Now, not even a small child fits between the trees. The lawn slopes to the trees as it always did. It appears smooth and green but the holes and bumps are still there if you know where to look. On the corner of the house is a pale lavender lilac bush, given and planted on a forgotten Motherís Day by my dad and his younger brother. It envelops that corner of the house in the color of my grandmotherís aprons.
The family sold it the year I married. The Mennonite minister, serving the church glimpsed from my grandmotherís kitchen window, bought it. He graciously extended an open invitation to our family. Twenty-five years have passed since it changed hands and 10 years since my grandmother died. Itís time to visit. The road is gravel, an upgrade from the swirling dirt that used to follow the rare car that drove by.
Instead of the driveway encircling the house, there is a garage parked in it. It has worked its way up the hill instead of waiting silently underneath the house. We hesitantly take the 3 steps to the kitchen and into living memory. Except for the new stove, the kitchen is identical. The red counter top is alive and no less vivid than my memory. Through the door, my grandmotherís long, dark table still holds court flanked by her buffet and china closet. Although itís been painted, the room speaks to me of my grandmother. Itís where we talked. The kitchen was where she prepared the garnishes to those words. I miss my grandfatherís work clothes hanging on the hooks at the foot of the stairs. They were there until the house sold almost 10 years after his death. The house is alive yet with our younger lives.
My grandfatherís hands built it. Our memories maintain it.
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