Sabtu, 05 April 2008


Today was a special day.  My aunt and uncle and cousin and Tommy and I went to Homer with my grandpa.  My grandpa, who is 102, was born in Homer and lived there until he was 11.  It was my cousin's idea to go, and we all appreciated it.  My grandpa shared stories most of the way, and when we pulled into Homer he pointed to storefronts and described what they once held:  his dad's grocery store, a feed store, a butcher shop, the telephone company, a furniture store, the undertaker, the blacksmith, the fire hall, the tin shop.  He remembers so much, and has so many associated memories with each place ("The undertaker was a really fine bass singer...the man who ran the wood shop south of town had a son who was the organist for the First Presbyterian Church.  Some of us were privledged to pump the organ.  One boy went to sleep and the organist had to wake him up....") 

My grandpa lived on Adams Street, just off of Hillsdale Street.  His aunt and uncle lived next door, and his grandma and grandpa lived two doors down.  His grandpa owned the (then) empty lot between my grandpa's boyhood home and Hillsdale Street, and he kept it vacant so my grandpa had a place to dig.  We drove around and looked at houses and my grandpa recalled who had lived in most of them.  On one street (Everett), he said, "Oh! See that horse block there?"  We hadn't noticed it, but we slowed down and backed up, and there it was.  "I wrecked my sleigh there one winter!" We parked beside the horse block and he shared the story:  "You know, there weren't any curbs along here then. We had a big snow. I was driving the pony, and I was on the sleigh.  I must have veered off the road a bit, and all of a sudden the right runner hit that horse block and stopped!  The pony kept going. He had the thills and half of the bar to which the thills were fastened.  The other half of the bar was still on the front of the runners. The runners stayed put, and I somersaulted off the top.  The pony went down the road, and I walked home.  Somebody brought the pony back, and it wasn't too hard to fix the sleigh.  It must have disturbed my mother quite a lot.  She was afraid owning this pony would be too dangerous, and she wanted to sell him and get me a new bike.  But my dad sided with me."

What a strange and beautiful thing, to return to a place nearly a century later and find the horse block that got in the way of your sleigh.

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