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My Old House

by Rainey Zeits

Pulling to the corner of Schomberg and Gauthier, I slowed my new truck. The black Dodge diesel ticked to a halt as I tried to catch the thoughts running around in my head. It had been years since I had been back to my family home. Even so, progression had not halted here.

The Powell's house still stood on the corner. Its slap board siding that was once gold with newness was now faded a dull weathered gray. The house sagged sadly on its foundation. A tremor coursed hotly through my body as I pulled gracefully from the stop around the corner. I knew every inch of the road that came ahead. The old surface was still tar and chip. The county had not given it the glory of a golden double yellow ribbon. The "NO TRESPASSING" signs that marked out our property line were now rotting, no longer protecting the fragile land that lay behind them. An ashen blackness had covered their words of warning. The field that spread out behind them had remained untouched. Purple wildflowers and yellow goldenrod illuminated the brownish weeds that threatened to choke off everything.

My heart thumped within me as I looked at what lay before me. Stanton's orchard had once lined the right of the road, but now the fields were a pool of modern houses. Their geometric designs and weather resistant siding did not seem to keep peace with the surrounding wilderness. The two created an optical war, natural v. modern.

As I crested the hill, a flood of memories clashed with the present view. The Vance's burgundy single level ranch had been repainted a hysterical fluorescent green. A custom Apple chain-link fence protected the dead, brown lawn. Tree stumps and children's toys played together, dully indifferent to the beautiful summer sky. I blocked out the image of the unattended home. I drove up to where our mailbox had stood. A smile slithered onto my parched lips. The ugly black plastic box that had received the mail in my youth had been replaced by a modern, exotic looking glass mailbox. The letters, cards, and papers could easily be seen.

However, a tear settled into the corner of my eye as I looked at where my home had once stood. The white ranch which had been surrounded by a fortress of large blue spruce trees had been overrun by the coming of a mansion-like home. The simple rutted dirt drive was now paved. A snooty look presided over the area. Large black kettles filled with pansies and ponytail palms rested heavily in front of the iron Habitec security gates. A small grey intercom was attached at car height. Announcing your presence was a requirement to being allowed in. A fancy brick wall, about seven feet high, lined the property. The crash of drums and guitar boomed on the radio as I threw the dodge into park and killed the engine. The last chords faded away as I opened the truck door with a click.

Artwork by (in order) Myrna Cavazos, Luke Rokos, Dan McKee
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