Holiday season is upon us, and the closer we get to Christmas the more, I think about my Nunny. I wrote this the night she died.
House For Sale
The essence of a house is weighed by the soul of a human. A house beats. The pieces of wood, metal and stone transform into a being.
A for sale sign dangles. The wind swings it to and fro. Other houses crowd in, but one stands out. White siding and a green porch. Paint faded by the seasons, bubbled and flaking.
The cars and people who pass by – they don’t see it as a home. But listen. The walls talk. They come alive with their previous owner’s story. Most people see the exterior and don’t bother to wander in. What they don’t understand is the spirit of the past always latches on to the framework. It carries like electric impulses though every nook, keeping it warm.
It all happened here. The music, the laughter. The family. The pride hung like a banner.
That laughter echoed beneath a floorboard. At one time, a Nunny and a Pap. They moved in at the milestone of their marriage. They had a son and daughter. The birth of a family would bind them for one lifetime. Yet as they grew, the sounds of high-pitched crying commenced. All it took was a simple trip down a short hallway.
Music and dance are the essence of harmony. Every Sunday morning, the owner starts coffee. The children come down to greet the sounds of polka. And dancing. The “one, two, three” would commence until all five grandchildren had their lesson.
Birthdays and parties filled that house. And every Christmas, the feast of the seven fishes – a celebration of tradition that traveled from the old country. Despite twelve inches of snow, the warmth started at the front door.
The kids headed straight to the tree, decoding whether stacked gifts were toys or clothes. Adults went to the kitchen. Sea salt and frying fish overpowered the pine and mulberry candle. In the oblong kitchen – hardly any room to move – they rarely had an accident.
Pap claimed the shrimp station. The grand-kids would wait until he stepped away from the half-full plate. When he returned, a single shrimp remained.“Keep it up, and there will not be any for supper.” The grandchildren already knew two other boxes were in the freezer.
The man at the head of the table was a regal fellow. The glue that bonded them.
“Outlaw,” He called her. “How many pounds of spaghetti did you make this year?”
In previous years, an over-abundance. She said she would write a note to remind herself next year. Yet, she would forget where she placed the note. This time, she laughed. It bubbled so that she shook her whole body.
Twelve Days of Christmas broke out. Every year, the oldest granddaughter would sing off key. They expected it, but laughed anyway.
The feast ended eventually, and the house would miss it. Waiting for their return. It never came. A sadness stirred. The couple would have forty years until death claimed Pap. Silence only in the stillness.
But no matter how many times she left, she always came back. Until she didn’t. And the pipes grew cold and longed for the polka. The walls grew stale, even after the family returned to view their lives through a spectacle of pictures.
The home turns into a house, awaiting another family to breathe in new life.