I’m at my grandparents’ house this weekend, visiting, helping to take care of, them, and me. I come here to recharge my batteries, to feel safe and taken care of.
I had taken Benny and Stella outside to go pee earlier and as I walked them around the yard I realized that its not the same yard I remembered playing in as a child. When I was little there was a crabapple tree in back, right corner. My brother and I used to spend hours picking up those little apples that you couldn’t do a damn thing with. G&G never told us that, though. It kept us busy and out of trouble.
There was also a huge old oak tree right outside the back door. It was so big and so strong that it supported the weight of a full-sized porch swing and a couple of people sitting in it. Just beyond that there was a picnic table where, every year, we had several crab feasts with all the family and all the fixins. The tree, the swing and the crab feasts are all gone now.
When my children were little, the oak tree was still there but the crabapple was gone. Out toward where the crabapple had been my grandparents’ installed an above-ground pool for the kids. There was lots of talk and going back and forth about an in-ground pool but my grandmother is absolutely terrified of pools so it was ultimately decided against. The kids didn’t care, though. They played and splashed and carried on in the above-ground as much as they would have in an in-ground.
I don’t know why the trees are gone. I don’t even really remember when they went away. I assume they were sick with some sort of tree disease. I can’t imagine G&G cutting down a tree without good cause. On the other hand, its their property and they can do as they damn well please with it.
So as I walked the dogs around the yard tonight I realized that although the yard is different and the house is a bit more cluttered and my grandparents’ are getting older and my parents are the age that I remember my grandparents being (which makes me the age I remember my parents’ being) its all still the same. I still come here to recharge my batteries, to be taken care of, to feel safe.
It really is a homestead. My homestead. Our homestead. North, Dulaney, Reed, Francis. As long as this house stands and family lives here we will all always have a homeplace.