We have our own little jargon here. If we say we’re going across the river, that means we’re taking the river ford to the hard road. If we say we’re going down the hill, it means we’re going down to the meadow on our farm. If we say we’re going over the hill, it means we’re taking the couple miles of dirt-rock road through three creeks, up a hill then down a hill to the hard road where the old farmhouse sits.
Our road is literally uphill both ways because it crosses a big hill. To the despair of anyone walking it in either direction, like, say, one of my children who might be too impatient to wait for me to pick them up from the bus over at the old farmhouse.
It was snowing yesterday morning, but I’d promised Georgia I would help her with her annual fiesta of making 75 mini holiday pumpkin breads. So off I set, over the hill….
….and through the woods….
….to Georgia’s house. Where she had started without me because she’s impatient, too, and nobody thinks I’ll drive anywhere when it’s snowing so she didn’t think I was really coming.
Georgia makes these little pumpkin breads (see recipe here) every year for the little church in town. They make up big gift baskets and give them out to the elderly in the community. Georgia has a hard time handling the work of 75 mini holiday pumpkin breads because she’s one of the elderly who should be getting a basket–but she doesn’t like that idea. She wants to be one of the younguns fixing goodies for the baskets, not one of those “old people” getting one. Only she can’t quite do it cuz, well, she’s elderly. So she calls me up and tells me she’ll “help” me make those mini pumpkin breads if I’ll come over to her house. Or something like that.
She fusses around a lot while she’s “helping” me because she wants to be sure I do things right and usually I don’t. She had the recipe clipped on her fridge and the clip was right over the part where it said how much ground cloves to put in. It was supposed to be 1/2 teaspoon but I couldn’t see the first part of that and I thought it said 2 teaspoons. Georgia almost had a fainting spell when she found out I’d been putting in 2 teaspoons.
We did a taste-test and decided we liked it with 2 teaspoons so all was forgiven. Since we were experimenting, I told her we should poke holes in the breads and pour on some rum glaze or maybe just some straight rum because the “old people” would really like that and it would be their best Christmas basket ever, but sometimes she just doesn’t pay attention to me.
In between baking rounds, I wandered over to the old farmhouse. I go over the hill every day to pick up children from the bus, but I don’t usually hang out much. I’m on my way here and there and in a hurry. It’s nice whenever I’m there for a bit to hang out and feel the old house again.
Hello, old house.
Hello, old bell.
Hello, old wash house out back.
Hello, Callie, mama to my Sugar and Spice.
Hello, gas fireplace in the old farmhouse parlor. How we used to gather round your heat as we shivered through the winters here. Oh how I remember the snow days when my children fought for who got to sleep closest to you on the floor.
Hello, great-grandparents on the wall.
Hello, room with no door. (Great-Aunt Ruby didn’t like doors!) Princess Morgan’s girlie comforter set still decks the bed as she is using a twin bed at our new farmhouse.
Hello, my old bedroom with the year-round Christmas tree. This is the only month of the year that this room looks right.
Hello, old retro 60s remodel kitchen. I rediscovered my love of baking in this kitchen. I hate it and love it and miss it and sometimes I want to come over and just cook something in it for the heck of it. Sometimes I can’t find something, like my bundt pan the other day, and I realize I must have left it here so I have to come over and hunt through the cabinets. I like to poke around in here and sometimes I rearrange things. Because it’s still MY kitchen. Don’t tell Georgia.
Hello, big window over the meadow. This is a good place to watch deer graze along the creek at dusk. And children shooting arrows into hay bales. And cats jumping in the tall, tall grass in summertime.
Hello, antique telephone on the wall and all that glass I used to have to keep clean.
Hello, spinning wheel. Would you like to come home with me, spinning wheel? Suzanne! :smack: You know you can’t take anything out of the old farmhouse! PUT THE SPINNING WHEEL DOWN. This is not your house!
Hello, old cellar with every wall lined in Georgia’s canned goods. I wonder if that little jar of cherry preserves might accidentally fall into my pocket? SUZANNE!! :smack smack:
Hello, old cellar porch where I don’t have to worry about lighting the gas on the old stove to keep the pipes from freezing this winter. Georgia comes over to do that now.
Hello, old washtub. I can still see my cats, Sugar and Spice, playing in the washtub when they were little kittens.
I see Morgan, at one-and-a-half, in this washtub when I gave her a bath here on one of our visits to the old farmhouse way back when.
I see me, age five, out front riding the little red tricycle Great-Aunt Ruby used to keep around for the little kids in the family.
I can almost see my dad when he was in high school and the weather was so bad he’d have to stay the night here with his aunt because he couldn’t get home.
And my great-grandparents, when they came over the hill and through the woods, to visit their daughter Ruby. I see them in the parlor and on the porch, not just on the wall where they are framed.
I see generations in an almost elastic space and time where no matter how far the years stretch, they also pull back together–here–in this old house.
Oh yeah, this is my house. Nobody tell Georgia.