Archive for August 17th, 2006

Dreaming of Yesterday

Out in East Texas, there is a good-sized wildlife preserve not too far from Caddo Lake State Park. Some of my maternal ancestors settled there; my something-great-grandmother, Rebecca Hope, ran a plantation, defied the law that forbade her to teach her slaves to read, and ran boats past the blockade during the War Between the States.

There’s something to be said for returning to your roots. I haven’t lived in East Texas since I was a wee thing, but as I walked around on the same land as my ancestors and kin, I felt a connection to them. I’m looking forward to meeting my great-grandmother Rebecca Hope, and telling her how thrilled I am to descend from a line of women as strong and proud and defiant as she.

There is a house there, in the wildlife preserve, out in the middle of nowhere, near one edge of the lake. It wasn’t our family’s house, of course–that had been torn down many, many years before. But it still drew me in. It was surrounded by lush green poison ivy and weeds and grass and trees and every other green thing. I was wearing long jeans, thick socks, and sneakers, so I joined my Uncle Lee as we braved the poison ivy and trudged across the overgrown path that led to the front porch.

The screened-in front porch held 5 or 6 metal bedsteads, their cheap and badly abused mattresses half hanging off them. The floors were coated with bird crap and the skeletons of small rodents were strewn about as well. Holding my breath to try to inhale as little of the putrid miasma as possible, I entered the living room.

It looked much the same as the screened sleeping room sans the beds, with one glorious exception. Along the wall immediately facing me there was an enormous walk-in fireplace, framed with three huge split cedar logs. Despite the decrepit condition of the whole house, the squeaky floorboards, the broken windows, the cracks and holes in the ceilings and walls, the fireplace was in exquisite condition.

As I stood and stared at the fireplace, I was whisked back 60 or 70 years. I could see a group of people talking, laughing, singing, basking in the light and warmth of a roaring fire. The house was comfortable and inviting. It had a large braided rug on the floor, comfortable chairs. There was food and drink and life and joy.

Uncle Lee and I quickly took a look through the rest of the house, observing the disgusting condition of the kitchen and the toilet, both thankful for modern plumbing. And we walked away, plodding back through the overgrown terrain, back to the 21st century.

As we drove off, I looked at the house, seeing again the vivid life it once lived. Unlike Rebecca Hope, its bones haven’t been discretely laid to rest. Rather it is in the open, decomposing in the sight of those who love it. But in that decomposing it still stands tall, proud, and beautiful.


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I’ve been having daily headaches for over a month now, and I’m just tired beyond belief about having the constant pain in my head. They range from fairly mild to excruciatingly severe. When I went to see my doctor a few weeks ago, he prescribed something for me that he thought would help relieve the pain. It didn’t work. So I called again this week. He’s now ordered an MRI and a referral to a neurologist. The MRI is scheduled for tonight at 5:30. I’m nervous because I’m somewhat claustrophobic.

I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong with me. I just get headaches that nothing seems to alleviate. I’ve thought that it might be connected with the Effexor, my anti-depressant. Anyway, if you’re reading this, keep me in your thoughts. Thanks!!

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