|TITLE: The Swing
By Kim Franklin
The smell of honeysuckles filled the air along with sweet remembrance of a childhood filled with laughter at this old house. It was my Mamaw’s house; historic and legendary in my eyes. Nothing fancy, just a small gray house badly in need of a fresh coat of paint and shutter repair that had stood in this very spot for over sixty years. The house had four rooms and a bathroom with a later addition of an apartment in the back but I’ve never seen another structure that defined “home” like this one. I could almost smell the fried chicken cooking and Mamaw’s stale perfume mixed in with that honeysuckle.
Standing in the front yard, beyond the house is a huge rolling hill that heads down to the main road. The best theme park in the world couldn’t top that hill. It was tuck and roll from top to bottom with an explosion of laughter and giggling from start to finish. Sometimes, even the adults would join in and race to the bottom. Standing atop that hill, allmost as far as the eye can see, the neighbors are family members. This was Papaw’s land and his children built the foundation of their homes on it. Papaw was many years older than Mamaw and had passed before my time. So the story goes, he eyed her at the country store one day and vowed to wait until she was old enough to marry. Sixteen years her senior , he stayed true to his word and he was her only true love.
Walking up the steps of the battleship gray porch, I remember many holidays spent eating good southern, country cooking and watermelon and seeing just how high that swing would go without breaking. (We actually did break it once). This was the simple life.. country living without a lot of complexities and a lot of loving from a great grandmother who truly made this house a home.
Mamaw went to be with the Lord a number of years ago and the house has stood lonely on this hill, unoccupied except for the termites who have ravaged and destroyed the structure. Now, the land has been sold and the house will be burned. How will the generations that come after me know the summers that I once shared at this awe-inspiring place ? As I swing one last time, I vow to make sure that my kids know about Mamaw, the old gray house, the hill and the swing.
(Because I hate posts without pictures and I feel like this story needed a visual, here it is! I didn’t have a picture on hand of the house, so I went to google maps and it was actually a really good picture of the house.)
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