This old house


I’m sitting here on the front porch of the old house. It’s about eight o’clock on a late summer morning, nice and cool here on the west-facing porch.

I say “old.” Heck, it’s not that old. I can remember when it was built, when I was about nine years old. It was a nice little frame two-bedroom house, painted white.

Many years later, when grandkids started coming on, Daddy remodeled it, just about doubling the size. He also did some pretty drastic landscaping, too. Out in front of me, slightly to the left, used to be our main vegetable garden. It was on a little bluff above the driveway. Daddy had the whole thing bulldozed down, so that there’s just a smooth slope from the top of the lawn to the driveway.

It’s a beautiful lawn. Ten big pine trees, two magnolias, three or four (apparently) sterile pecans and a persimmon tree.

And the zoysia could be used in a magazine ad, especially with its history. When all that re-landscaping was going on, the top part of the yard was scraped down to the sheetrock. This was back in the sprigging times. They put about a half-inch of topsoil over the rock and red clay and sprigged it … and it has never received an ounce of water, except rain, or a spoonful of fertilizer. Yet, as I say, the zoysia folks could use it as an ad.

It’s so nice here. A few cars and pickups going somewhere on the paved road that used to be dirt and gravel ‘til I left home.

I see a doe and her fawn tripping along the far side of the road. Watch it! Here comes a car. My vision is cut off by a big azalea clump. I squinch up, expecting to hear the crunch of a car hitting them. But, no, they made it.

She’s probably one of the pear-eaters from the back side of the house, where the old pear tree is breaking limbs with its big load of fruit.

Nephew Steve, who legally owns the place now, is steadily making some much-needed improvements about the house and yard and barn and crib. The picturesque barn is the subject of a beautiful photograph that a neighbor made and doctored up a little bit. It hangs in the courthouse. Next time you’re by there, take a look.

Just as always, the house serves us and Jack’s crowd as kind of a very familiar bed and breakfast when we’re in Frontier Country. Thanks, Steve, for all you do.

Here comes Jack now. “We’ve got the middle bedroom, you take the front one.”

Quick as he gets unloaded, we’ll take our little tour of the old community, seeing and talking about things that used to be there and people who used to live there.

In so many cases, you can’t even see a sign that a thriving family used to live … right out yonder, remember? The Piersons, the Bickerstaffs, the Chandlers, the Finches, the Bomans, the Crowders … either rapidly decaying shells of houses … or just weeds and trees and vines and bushes and an occasional chimney.

And the creeks that once provided swimming holes: now, mostly just wetlands. We have plenty of wetlands.

To those of you who made the trip to Mecca, oops, my home town, it still looks about the same, which is good. Just a little town, basically built around the courthouse.

I’ll Just sit here for a little while longer, if you don’t mind, and reminisce …

Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at


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