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place I would have to go to before and after school. I have always loved my
grandmother’s house because it made me feel safe and warm. There was a smell of
coffee in the air at all times. It seemed like all my grandmother did was make coffee.
If I smell coffee, I instantly think of my grandmother’s house. My grandmother’s house
was always filled with people. I can remember sitting in a chair watching her do hair.
She would take a hot comb and straighten her clients’ hair. The smell of burning hair
would linger in the house for days.
The house was old. My grandmother lived in it most of her life. The house was
white with black trimming, but most of the paint was chipped away on the back porch,
there was always fire wood. No matter if it was winter, spring, summer, or fall, there
would always be firewood on the porch. The house had one of those older heaters that
used firewood. I can recall putting wood in the heater and taking a poker to stir the
flames. That was the closest I ever came to playing with fire. I used to get so
excited and would always volunteer to poke the fire.
In the summer, we would play at the pond behind the house. It looked more like
a swamp than a pond. The pond was black as night and home to the snakes, tadpoles,
frogs, and fish. We would go to the pond to catch the tadpoles and fish. When night
fell, we would run around and catch fireflies. We also helped plant peas, collard
greens, and corn around the area. The corn grew up like a forest! I can remember
running through the corn and playing hide and seek. Even after all the fun I had,
picking the vegetables and shelling the peas was not my favorite moment.
On Sundays, Grandmother would cook a big Sunday dinner. Everyone was
expected to come to her house after church. The men would be in the den watching the
television while the women cooked. They would cook chicken, collard greens, peas, and
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sweet potato pie. All of the kids had to stay outside and play, so not to get in the
way. If family came from out of town, the food supply would seem endless. Afterward,
everyone went home knowing that they were full and happy.
Recently, I returned to my grandmother’s house. It seemed so empty because no
one lives there now since my grandmother has been ill. Some of the windows are broken,
and the house is run down. The once illustrious garden is now but a patch of dirt, and
the wonderful pond is now dried up. I closed my eyes and imaged the family sitting at
the table, enjoying Sunday dinner, but now, things just don’t seem the same.