Generation Home

By Andrew R. Duckworth

Photo provided by Stan and June Duckworth
Memories from decades ago flood in
And bring me back two decades
To a modest home with crimson siding.
Two concrete steps to a concrete porch,
Home waiting just beyond a wooden door.
Every family begins somewhere.
West of the Mississippi began ours.

Doormat says “welcome in,”
And that feeling follows through the door.
Voices, I can almost hear them
Issuing out in a family gathering
During any given holiday.

Kisses on the heads of babes,
Echoes of years earlier.
Life was but a dream,
Life was but a dream,
Years of happy faces in happy times.

And into the living room I move,
Not bothered by life’s outside ironies.
“Divan,” that’s what she would say,
Referring to the sofa against the wall.
Elegant scenes of ocean waves,
Walls with purposely placed paintings.

My iron crucifix
It belonged to her once, hung on the wall.
Kids off talking about Christmas gifts,
Adults off talking about Christ’s birth.
Years when everyone was here,
Loving and laughing in the small house
And not a thing to break the spirit.

Notably in his recliner, granddad,
In a different world of western novels,
Keeping that brass bookmark in his hand.
Oven baked goods, the smell wafts
Little by little from the kitchen.
Off comes the bow of a gift,
Someone eager to open presents.

Just a few steps away from the table,
A dining table built for eight,
Covered in a white cloth,
Kept stable by a festive centerpiece.

Joining hands as we say the blessing
Over a table of delightful dishes.
Helping after helping until satisfied,
Not forgetting to leave room for dessert.
The kitchen is lively with familiar faces,
However distorted from my memory.
Opened photo albums on the coffee table
Make the adults remember old times,
And old times, story by story,
Sing holidays to a close.

Memories flood the old house
In an old town where only a few stayed.
Clean white curtains filter sun
Hitting the polished dining table
And an antique cabinet.
Enough pictures of family to
Lift a heart from poverty.

Memories of a young child
Ascending the kitchen counter,
Rummaging through ingredients,
Keeping dreams of becoming a chef.

Countertops a faded yellow
And cabinets of dark brown.
Through a small window,
Hope Must have peered through
Every now and then,
Removing traces of doubt
In a parent’s mind.
No doubt, hope kept a family alive,
Even in stormy days.

Place where family was born,
Hope stayed and bound.
I can’t remember all of the faces,
Let alone the names,
Let alone the ages.
I suppose someday, I will forget it.
Place where family was born.

People change and people grow.
Everyone drifts in their own direction,
Taking with them what they will.
Even family has to move about,
Roam where they must.

Home was there,
And, in some ways, it always will be.
No one gathers like they once did,
No one since she passed.
A wonderful lady, my grandmother.
How great my grandparents made family.

Just another walk around the house,
A small tin shed in back.
Can’t shake a feeling they’re still here.
Over years, my grandparents still here
Bringing people together.

Patience was never her virtue,
Although love and faith were.
There was an emptiness when she left
Roses by a graveside wouldn’t fill.
I remember that sad day too well,
Creating reasons to step away,
Keeping clear so they wouldn’t see tears.

Some grandchildren never met her.
How much richer they would have been.
Every now and then, she comes to mind,
Letting me know I can still remember
Life is but a dream,
Yet all too real.

How great she was, he was, the house was.
Over and over, they brought us together.
Love and stories,
Life and goodness,
Youth filled with it.

Jesus holds them now,
A Heaven filled with grandparents,
Yet an earth filled with memories.

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