December 2019 – The End of an Era
Empty. Quiet. Lonely.
After 55-years, all that remains now are echoes of fading memories and smells.
I stand just inside the front door of the house I grew up in, looking at a room that used to be filled with furniture. Over there, a dining room table. The walls full of pictures and knick-knacks. In my mind’s eye I see a little Quentin playing on the floor with his Matchbox cars; the entire house was his city!
As I walk toward the kitchen, I catch the faint whiff of mom’s homemade biscuits and gravy; a meal that she was more than willing to make for her only son…anytime he wanted them! (One of the advantages of being the baby of the family!!). I turn around and see the dining room table with all four extensions in it and the whole family gathered around it. More than likely it was either a Sunday dinner, or we were celebrating somebody’s birthday with a favorite meal and dessert cooked with love by mom.
This was her “Happy Place.”
I look out the back window and I see Dad in the backyard adjusting the water sprinkler. The path of the water spray had to precisely hit all the right spots in the yard so he could maintain the perfect green lawn. He had won an award from OKC Beautiful one year for that yard! And he worked hard to keep it maintained. Satisfied that the sprinkler is doing what it was told to do, he turns and goes to his shop. As he disappears into HIS “Happy Place,” I wonder what wood project he’s working on. Maybe it was one of the end tables he made for us kids. Or was it one of his music box churches?
From where I’m standing I can look up and see where the old doorbell used to be and I laugh. I remember a couple of times when dad would sneeze so loud the doorbell would ring! And then I hear the laughter from around the dinner table. I wonder what story brought it about. Were we laughing at the lemon pie mom made for my sister’s birthday but forgot to put in the sugar? Oh the look on Carlotta’s face when she took her first bite! Or was it the time when mom and dad were on one of their retirement trips and called us from “BUTT MONTANA” – (MOM, that’s NOT how it’s pronounced!!).
As I look toward the front picture window, I can still see mom’s rocking chair. I remember one early morning I came out of my room as a young teenager and heard my mom talking. As I walked into the living room, there she was. On her knees. Praying. Talking with God.
The memory fades like a mist and I come back to reality. The house is empty of furniture. The walls have been stripped of their pictures and knick-knacks. And all that remains are the fading echoes of memories.
Empty. Quiet. Lonely. No longer home.
– Quentin Sawatzky