If you have read many of my posts, you have probably noticed my love for old houses, old “things” and the old stories that go along with them. When we drive past an old dilapidated house, I imagine how it must have looked when it was new, with children in the yard and sheets hanging on the line.
Years of dreams, hopefully fulfilled and people who I hope knew the Lord and are now with Him in the house built by His hands for them to dwell for eternity. The old shell of the house is left for our imagination.
Many people want to tear down the old in order to build something more modern. Others tear down and replace a formerly loving home with strip malls or convenience stores. They see profit for the future and that is fine.
Our Heavenly Father promised that He when we receive Christ as our Savior, old things are past and all things are made new. We live in the same body but have a new life. We are redeemed; bough with a price.
I glanced at the calendar today
And was transported back
To the lovely in 1997
When you and your sister
Took us to the home
Of your Mother’s youth.
The calendar displayed a beautiful sketch
Of your Grandparent’s now vacant home.
The McKenney House on Cow Pasture River
I fondly remember the day.
It was inspiring to see
The home where my husband’s
Great Grandparents had lived and loved and died.
The heritage of their love and faith lingers still
In the hearts of their decedents.
We arrived with anticipation.
The view was breath taking.
The mountains were draped
In a lovely quilt of green and blue
The Cow Pasture River played a lovely
Tune as the water trickled over the rocks
And the fish danced.
I don’t know what I had expected,
But the empty, decaying house
Truly spoke to me.
As I looked beyond the gray, cracked wood,
Broken windows and screens;
It suddenly became alive to me
With love, joy, laughter and song.
In my mind’s eye I did see
It was more then just a house. It had been a home.
A place where a loving Mother and Father
With faith and discipline taught their young
The lessons of right from wrong
And as Christians, to be strong.
In time, these children would grow to be adults
Then return with families of their own to gather and reminisce.
To share words of love and hope and wisdom
In times of joy and even in despair!
As I walked around the house, I could almost hear the joyous sound of laughter as children ran through the yard and played games of tag or hide & seek.
The sound of the back screen door clapping as little feet ran in and out
Despite Mother’s gentle reminders not to slam the door!
Was it my imagination or could I smell the sweet fragrance of
Freshly baked Bread; kneaded gently with strong, work worn hands
Of a busy wife and Mother to feed her dear family with just churned butter?
The clothesline would surely be filled every Monday morning
With freshly laundered clothes drying in the gently breeze.
Did the children enjoy the fresh smelling clothes and sheets
That would give the scent of lovely sunshine?
Would the sweet smell comet to mind on breezy summer days,
Transporting them from the cares of an adult world to the
Lazy, playful days of childhood snuggling each night
Under the freshly laundered sheets
Reminding them of their gentle, caring Mother?
At the very least; it would surely transport them “home”!
Although we could not go inside and look around;
I could imagine a worn spot on the floor in front of a well-used cook stove
Which had produced thousands of delicious meals to fill hungry tummies.
There would also be another worn spot in front of an ancient sink
Probably with a pump faucet where Mother and daughters carefully
Washed the family dishes as they shared hopes and dreams as they worked.
Somewhere in the house was a table where Father sat
Reading his Bible and writing by kerosene lamplight.
What a wonderful example he was to his young ones!
Outside was a large empty barn
Where horses and cattle were kept fed and safe and warm.
Were there memories of currying the animals?
Or hay rides and snuggling under blankets to keep warm?
There must have been a garden with vegetables planted in neat rows.
Mother would water, harvest and can them to feed her family
During long winter months. Oh, her cheeks must have been aglow
As she did such hard work; knowing the joy it would bring in months ahead.
Tomatoes, Corn, and Potatoes. Squash, Onions, Beans
Stored neatly in the nice cool cellar.
Cucumbers for Pickles, Pumpkin for Pie.
Applesauce, Apple butter, Jelly and Jam.
Oh, the treats you would make
To bring a twinkle into everyone’s eye!
Although grass and weeds are now unkempt,
It must have once been a well cared for yard.
Along the fence, beautiful rose vines still grow.
Were flowers also planted in nice, neat rows?
I could envision so clearly some mischievous boy riding
A trike or throwing a ball into Mother’s prize flowers!
To make amends, he would bend and lovingly
Pick the most beautiful flower with tiny fingers
To bring to his dear Mother.
As the years went by, children grew up
And left home to start families of their own.
They would come back for special events
Like Birthdays and Holidays or After Church Dinner.
Often in summer to picnic under the trees
And less often on cold snowy days.
They are all gone now.
The McKenneys are now in their new home in Heaven.
They have been joined with their children and some grandchildren.
Now, Emilie and Louise both Granddaughters
Have beautiful crowns of fluffy white hair;
Recipients of the prayers of their Grandparents
Now sweetly share the love and wisdom from above
So lovingly taught to them by these precious ancestors.
As I looked at both of you that day, I thought “what a remarkable thing.
You have a rich heritage of love and caring.
We didn’t come just to see an old house.
It was the love of family that you were sharing!”
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
More Views of the McKenney House and the surrounding area.
If you look carefully at the windows to the house, it appears there is someone looking back at us. The leaves on the tree where the picnics were held in the summer made that illusion for us.
Mother Purdy is the only surviving grandchild of the McKenneys from the Long family.
That day was special to each of us for many reasons. Louise, several years older than Emilie had memories that Emilie didn’t share. Louise remembered sleigh riding in a horse drawn sleigh and also a hayride! They both spoke of the family gathering for Sunday dinner under the big tree in the front yard.
Just think, the picnic you have this summer will be fondly remembered to your grandchildren and great grandchildren some day! Make it special.
Family Photos by John W. Purdy
Blackberry Jam by Kathie Trent Kingrey
Sleigh found on the internet. No credit provided
Yellow Flowers – windows sample pictures
Washtub found on the internet. No credit provided