Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Browning Homestead

Original cabin shown under stucco
The story began over a century ago. A family on the edge of the frontier. Pioneers with hopes and dreams and a will to begin again. Five generations or more passed through these doors. Dinners were served, three wars were fought, babies were born, deaths and disease crept through the cracks like invisible demons. Multiple families shared a two bedroom cabin. The depression was evident in their stories.

Today it comes down. 

Someone's dreams of a better life. Someone's memory of a childhood, now long gone: my father on his mother's back as she scrubbed her kitchen floors to a shine. The thousands of meals set at a simple table, prepared by the able and worn hands of a grandmother who could cook like no other. A gentle prayer offered. Cousins playing. Grandma's soft voice beaconing you close. Laughter. So much laughter. And singing.  If I listen I can still hear it in the rustling of the apple trees in the grove.

We sift through the rubble for signs of this other life, another time, another world. Looking. Wanting a piece of their souls as only a mortal can. Wishing to know them like they know us. What were they like? Did they struggle like me? Did they rejoice like me? And we learn through the scraps and rubble: Seven layers of pink and blue flowered wallpaper, whitewashed walls against bare logs now rotted by time and termites. 
A desire to make their place beautiful. A place of warmth, a refuge from the elements. A place of love and acceptance. A place of God.

interior with drapes
Some things are familiar. Others I've never seen before.
original floor (sometime before the thirties they rebuilt the floor

Linoleum floors that look like fancy carpet. Dainty trim.

They are gone. All but one. 

My dad. 

But they remain in our hearts and in our memories. I can hear her voice. The hum of the fridge. The smell of rolls cooking in the oven. My grandma singing. We are connected forever. 

We are family. And I know, we are not so different after all.

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