Aunt Deane's house sits just outside
the railroad tracks of that speck of a town. She and I were on State Route 235, vigorously walking out to the stop light
on "Old Route 25" and back. We'd passed the pen and house that, in my youth, had kept and slaughtered buffaloes.
A restaurant in the nearby small town of Bluffton, served buffalo burgers and so that meat was fresh.
Aunt Deane's house
is the "grand dame" of Mt. Cory. Its elegance transcends time. Five acres of grass surround it. On three
sides, corn fields protectively wrap its grassy lawn. From the front of the house, one views the grain elevator across the
Aunt Deane loved to mow. She'd "gas up the rider"
and get down to the roaring business of assuring her house's yard met her--and really her mother's, for aren't we all products
of the generations that precede us?--high standards.
I feel Mt. Cory
in the roar in my mind of Aunt Deane's mower. I feel its lush stillness. Ha! A roaring mower takes me to a mental
place of pure quiet! A place of shade trees and dappled sun. Languorous afternoons of childhood daydreaming.
My Aunt Deane's roaring mental mower takes me to a place of freedom.
Deane's there, in my head, complainingly proud and seated on the rider. Back
and forth she goes. Every once in a while the roar stops with a screech as she puts her rider in reverse to attack a
troublesome spot. Sometimes the mower putt-putt-putts in my mind as Aunt Deane takes a contemplative moment to survey
the work already done. But mostly I see her resolute in getting the job done!
State Route 235 runs right in front
of Deane's house and is Mt. Cory's Main Street. There's a speed limit for the semi-trucks and cars barreling through
town. It's rarely honored, But there are few cars and fewer trucks and, so, Main Street is pretty much true to its peaceful
reputation. With the exception of the weekly volunteer fire station and squad's blaring of the siren, cricket chirps
and bird songs are its background sound tapestry.
Aunt Deane--the oldest of the twins and number eight of eleven children--has lived in this town and in this
house since she was fifteen. That's five years after the death of her 42 year old father of a heart attack. He
died in the fields; just keeled over and died after working all day in the sun. He left his wife, my grandmother, alone to
raise the last five of the children.
"Old Route 25" has never
been young. It's never been new and kicky and sassy. It's never had convenience stores and fast food restaurants lining
its sides. With the exception of Winnie's small gas station on the way to Findlay, there's not much to purchase on "Old
But "Old Route 25" has
got it some history. It's got stories to tell about the lives of people living in the farm houses lining it--way back
from the road-- Bluffton in one direction and Findlay in the other. Maybe people dying there too. Right there--1967?--is where
the house trailer blew up and killed everybody inside. The boy who lost his toes in a lawn mower accident lives there.
"Cancer took him," my dad would
say as he pointed to a house, almost as if it was the house that had suffered the illness. "It was a long and valiant
battle." I've since learned he'd gone to high school with that cancer stricken man. "That woman there", my
mother would add as she pointed to the house in the opposite direction. "She died of cancer too." It was
almost as if my parents spoke of the houses as well as the people living and dying in them.
Instead of billboards advertising easily attained divorces and "sue-anyone-for-anything"
opportunities, "Old Route 25" had signs about Jesus. "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found:" and
" He who hath the Son hath life." are the two I remember.
I'm sad the Jesus signs are no longer there. I miss them. Thank God, though, they've not been replaced with
the ubiquitous lascivious attorneys, like in Miami, smiling down at me with perfect teeth, perfect hair and perfect opportunities
for them to get rich.
Aunt Deane and I, turn at Old Route 25's stop light to walk back to her house, side by side on State Road
The air is fresh. The sun is setting. It's
all so beautiful. We both feel like running.