The old house still stands, although the appearance has changed drastically from long years past.
But in my memory, each time I pass there, I see the tiny little old lady sitting there in her chair, straight and prim, beneath those old shade trees that stood beside the log structured old homeplace.
I love nothing better than going for a visit, for there under those shade trees, she would spin tales and tell stories that I could have listened to on and on it seemed.
She was a fragile “wisp” of a lady, with her hair twisted up in a knot, usually dressed in a dark cotton dress, cotton stockings and smiling … always smiling. Her name was “Dink” Carpenter, mother of Odus, Lena and Finis and I sure thought a lot of that little lady.
She was kind and gentle to everyone about, and on lazy summer days, I’d hike down to the flat rock where her home stood, and there she would be, sitting right there in her special spot.
“Howdy-do, Miss Dink,” I’d holler, as I carefully made my way across the rocky crevices and stream that led to the huge bluff called Flat Rock.
She’d be smiling as I approached. “How are you today?” she’d always ask.
“Oh, I’m a doin’ jest fine,” I would reply and “plop” down on the ground beside her chair and we’d visit for a spell. I always left feeling happy and it sure didn’t hurt any when Miss Dink would bring out a jar of her special “pickled peaches.” (To this day, I remember them … how good they tasted.)
One day I made a few potholders out of fabric scraps. I probably was about eight or so, as I wagged my little box of potholders to show Miss Dink. “Oh, them’s real nice,” she exclaimed as she looked in the little box. “Are you aiming to sell any?”
“Well, Miss Dink, I don’t rightly know. I reckon I might, if’n they’s good enough,” I told her.
“Well, they are nice and I think I’ll take two - these two here,” she said as she held up two of the homemade potholders. “What do I owe you?” she asked.
I had no idea what to ask so I ventured, “Would two cents be too much?”
She laughed. “Say, how ‘bout I give you a dime for two? How’ll that be? Suit you okay?”
“Why, that’d be jest fine,” I stammered, tickled to death. I had made a whole dime! All by myself - all mine. I was thoroughly excited.
“Thank yea Miss Dink,” I told her as I turned to run home.
“You’re welcome child,” she said smiling.
I remember hopping over those rocks, barefooted, thrilled over my dime. “Wait till brother see this - he’s gonna be so jealous,” I thought to myself.
But strangely, for some reason, what I remember most vividly is how “Miss Dink” looked that fall afternoon long ago. The image of her standing beside that ladderback chair wearing her dark colored dress with its lace collar, graying hair in a little bun … her frail hand lifted in a gentle goodbye wave, smiling.
The late autumn sun shown from behind her, illuminating her silhouette, causing the entire scene to resemble a fine painting by one of the old masters. That particular scene is imprinted on my memory so clearly, it’s as if it were yesterday.
I would love to walk across Flat Rock, a barefoot child once more, and see that gentle little old lady seated there beneath the shade of those old trees … smiling and bidding me welcome, once again.
But only in memories is that possible. It’s like the lyrics from that beloved old hymn we’ve all sung at one time or another: “Precious memories flood my soul.”
Till next time.