Saturday, November 29, 2008
step back in time
I end up talking to a gentleman last Saturday outside his home at the end of a worn-out dirt road. His house was one that I had already noticed reminded me images from documentaries of Appalachia during the origins of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Slight of build and subtlely sunken eyes shrouded by life-filled crow's feet that give him a perma-grin, he greeted me. His well and outhouse in the back yard were clearly visible from the side of the house where he met me. How old is this house? I asked, to which he said 'oh, goodness, this house? I don't know - it's old.' and goes on to explain he was born and raised in that house, and he's now 80 years old. He retrieved his daughter from inside to help answer the question, though. She, too, was slight of build, and though did not look old, she looked like time had not been as kind as her face was absent her father's smile. Given the impression she, too, lived in the house, I asked how many lived in the house, to which they both answered at the same time, so I missed the details: something like a sister, twins and two grandchildren to make for 8 people in the house. The man smiled and nodded with pride. He continued to tell me about working at the sawmill back in the day, and while telling me, I couldn't help but notice the child, about three years old, inside the house who had climbed on a chair to reach up and run his finger along the window pane.