Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Memories Within!

Hey yall, I know it has been awhile since I have put a short story up but here is my latest one. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to comment on it and even check out the other one in an earlier post. ~LH 1 Timothy 4:12~
The Memories Within

The house was large and full of memories. Generation upon generation had passed through these halls making the very walls hold secrets no one dared to speak, but all were proud to remember. These things left unsaid were the old world stories-stories from the Civil War to World War II. The old family homestead was always fun to walk around and to imagine what it once was, and it still is in the hearts of the family. Something was intriguing about the war stories of days gone by. The evidence of those wars and my families’ participation in these events was hidden away for safe keeping in the trunk in the store room that all the grandchildren would look at in awe but dare not open.

This trunk belonged to my Great-great-grandfather and when it was moved into my home, I was amazed at how I now had the chance to possibly see the evidence of the family presence long gone away. The trunk sat at the base of the guest bed. I would lie on the bed upside down so I could touch this amazing object, feel the roughness of the wood, the stiffness of the leather that bound the sides, and push my fingers into the old key hole I knew I could open but should I? or let the past just stay there?

One Christmas Eve curiosity finally got the better of my cousins and me amid the decorations and the singing the huge trunk upstairs was calling for us. I was the one with the honor to open it. I lifted the lid slowly, the hinges straining under the weight of the box top. The top finally came to a stop and each of us gazed in over the side, arms folded, as if we were looking into an endless abyss. There lay my family’s past. Many wonderful things I had heard stories about, wonderful stories that intrigued me, and now the evidence of the past. Many of the tales about men who were too strong and full of courage to be real, and of women who had been too beautiful and feminine, yet not faint nor feeble, but here was the evidence they had existed. We each gazed into the trunk, eyes as big as saucers, our childish dreams finally coming true. When I first gazed into the strong case, there was nothing but clothes from every decade I knew anything about, and some I knew nothing of. Then knowing there had to be more to this adventure than what met the eye, we each began to dig deeper and examine the contents. I finally discovered a collection of plastic bags, most containing old letters, and after further examination, it turned out these letters were from my grandfather to my grandmother during World War II, but then I saw one bag that did not contain a letter. This item was small with even smaller contents; I had to know what it was. We all galloped downstairs knowing there was a possibility we could get in trouble but none of us cared. We wanted to know the story behind the small metallic items, rusted with age.

My mother took the small package lightly in her hand and stood still for what seemed like ages, and then began relaying the story about men of honor. As my mother began to relay the story of my grandfather I could almost hear his voice tell of his story, his life, his adventure.

* * *

What a journey I have embarked on. I never knew as a child what my life would hold in the future. When I was a boy I always imagined running the plantation as my father and his father had done before me. Oh, how life and time have brought me down a different path. I served in the Confederacy for over two years. The boys in grey and I, when we enlisted were, mandated to serve for only one year to our proud South. But with my Roberts’ pride I would always shout, "I will be here till the duration." Sometimes I look back and regret that I stayed on as long as I did, but I know it was my duty, my calling. I served each day as if it were my last until finally a day came when I thought it was.
* * *
The battle was hard and long, each man fought with all his heart and soul, and many lost them on that very battlefield. I lay badly wounded a bullet in my face and my right arm lay at my side in shreds. I cannot hold my comrades at fault. I appeared dead; I felt as if I were. I could hear them marching away, but I could not call for them. I was at death’s door. What is this I hear? Could it be marching? I slowly turned my head, but in horror all I saw were the Yankees coming toward me and my fallen brethren. I saw them checking each body. I could hear each heavy footfall crunch the dry grass beneath their step. They came to me and to my surprise, even though they had their pistols drawn, they took me to a doctor. I reflect on that day often as the man had to remove part of my jaw trying to retrieve the bullet. Later on lying on a cold, wet, dark, jail floor I heard the news of Lee’s surrender. I was saddened, yet relieved to hear the news. Now I could go home! After a long walk from the prison yard of Elmira, New York to the old plantation home of Kershaw, South Carolina, clothes battered and torn, almost unrecognizable. I stepped into the carriage way and from a distance, there was my family. I must have looked like a ghost, like a dream, to them so long I have been gone. Now I am here and here to stay.


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