Family Non-Fiction posted November 1, 2021

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My family home.

Mountain Home

by Shirley McLain

Sense of Place Short Story Contest Winner 

The Mountain is my mother's family home, but it's also mine. It's beautiful, but rugged. Once you left the highway, it was seven miles of dirt roads to reach the property. You traveled up Billy Goat Hill with a running start to make it up the side of the mountain. My Great Grandfather, Charley, bought the Mountain in the 1920s. He cleared the land for cattle and horses, and built a house and barn for his family.

I remember the old house burned down. I was about five years old the last time I saw the house. It burned to the ground before I turned six.
It was built of old graying boards. It had a wide, wrap-around porch with two rockers and a small table. Mama told me her grandparents often sat on the porch in the mornings, drinking coffee.

A large honeysuckle bush grew in a circle bed in front of the house. It smelled glorious. I was told never to go near it because it was a favorite of Copperhead snakes.

My mother's parents moved in the mountain home when Charley and Mila moved to McAlester because of poor health. When you entered through the front door, you stood in a large living room with a brown rock fireplace on the right side.  Two windows were placed on the outside wall. The wide plank wood floors contained several area rugs. Directly to the left was a bedroom. That's where my mom and Dad had a bed to sleep in, and I slept in a baby bed under a window on the house's front wall.

As you walked from the living room, you entered the kitchen. A large wood stove stood against the wall to the left. The stove had a pie safe across the top, but didn't have a water tank attached. Another bedroom door was next to the stove. The kitchen table sat in the middle of the room, with two Cole Oil lamps sitting on the table.
To the right was a deep farm sink and a washstand with a basin against the wall on the left. To the left of the washstand stood a doorway to the screened back porch. It contained the water pump to the cistern located underneath the porch. It's also where everyone took their washtub bath. I've never liked used bathwater, so I loved the fact that being a child, I got to take my bath first.

If we had to take care of mother nature's call, there was a well-worn path to the outhouse, which stood by the barn. We had to watch for Copperheads. You needed to check the rafters and over the door. I was always afraid I would get a bite on my butt. It never happened to me or anyone, but that didn't keep me from being afraid.

I may be 72 years old, but the old house image is vivid in my mind, and I treasure it.

Writing Prompt
Write a 400 to 700 word essay describing a place. This should be a descriptive short story, make sure you describe the place very well. This place you are describing can not be a place in your imagination, dreams, ext. It has to be a real place, preferably a place you know very well. You do not have to have been to this place, and this can be a made up story. Be creative and descriptive!

Sense of Place Short Story
Contest Winner

495 words
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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