The Old White House

The Old White House

By Green Lee Meadows

The old house was nestled in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It sat on a crest on a small knoll overlooking a pond, beyond the pond was a field planted with buckwheat. The old house was a two-story, white with a red front door and shutters. It had sixteen-foot ceilings, a fireplace, and a white picket fence.

Across the road, stood a little white church, the spring before last, where we married.

Our families were Appalachian folk of coal miners, farmers, and railroad workers. We were depended on the black coal that was abundant beneath our hills. Hard work was rooted-deep within each of us. Unlike today, it was a place where god, respect, and honor still exist. Young boys were raised as men, and young girls were raised as ladies. Winters were hard, and the summers were fun.

We were young, happy, and in love. She was a sixth-grade-school teacher, and I was an apprentice electrician for the railroad––we had dated since the eighth grade.

Over the years, before we had been married—she often mentioned that she wished—we had the money to own, the old white house someday with the white picket fence around it that sat on a crest on a small knoll overlooking a pond with a field of buckwheat just beyond it.

In secret, for two hard years I labored overtime on weekends and in the nights, to save the money to buy her, the old white house.

It was the day of our wedding that she learned; she owned the old white house. After we made our vows to each other, we walked out of the little white church, and across the road to the old white house.

That spring, she planted a flower garden around the old white house. Mountain folk, for miles around, came down from the mountains to see her garden. It was told among them – we had the most beautiful house in all the valleys around.

Summer passed, and fall came. The buckwheat was harvested in the field beyond the pond. Winter descended upon us without mercy, and covered our mountains and valleys with snow.

It was two weeks before Christmas. Lights glittered on the Christmas tree in the old white house, that sat next to the window where outside snowflakes fell from the night sky.

We snuggled on the sofa––she coughed. The wind whistled outside.

The fireplace crackled and popped––she coughed and blood spat from her mouth. The wind wailed outside.

I rushed her to the hospital.

We learned that night the sickness in her had spread throughout her chest, and they told us that there was nothing they could do for her.

I screamed, and I fell upon my knees when the doctor told us that she had—about two weeks to live.

She held my head against her chest––and we cried…

It was Christmas Eve night, and snowflakes fell from the night sky outside. We sat on the sofa and held each other in the old white house. Draped over us was a quilted blanket given to us by my grandmother.

She coughed.

The fireplace crackled and popped. She coughed, and she coughed, and she spat blood from her mouth.

The wind whistled and howled outside. She looked into my eyes. In a faint voice, she said, “I will love you forever––”

She laid her head on my shoulder. She coughed. “Hold me tight…” she whispered, as I felt the life slowly leave her body.

I laid my head against hers, and held her until daylight.

Spring arrived. Beyond the pond, I stood in the field that once grew buckwheat. I stared at the old white house––her garden was dead. It was told among, the mountain folk; I had the ugliest house in all the valleys around.

I haven’t stayed in the old white house, since the night she died.
I can’t—
I won’t—
I miss her—
You see—I loved her.
The old white house was dead.

It was Christmas Eve night. I lit the match and threw it onto the floor of the old white house, with the white picket fence around it, that sat on the small knoll overlooking a pond––I watched it burn until daylight.

I miss you…

©Green Lee Meadows 2011


One response to this post.

  1. My comments are……beautiful as usual……I loved it!!!!! Continue on this way and you will have big success!




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