Friday, October 21, 2016
The Centipede ((or, ‘Little House on Arch Street’) (1952-1957))
((or, ‘Little House on Arch Street’) (1952-1957))
The wind rustled the fallen autumn leaves about, and tall dry grass swayed every-which-way, Minnesota falls, are beautiful; the oak trees that grew on the side of the embankment in the back of the house on Arch Street, in the 1950s, also those alongside our house, and next door neighbor, by his barn now being used as a garage were become bare; the barn door banged, always banged when left open, and dogs barked running up and down Arch street, day and night, sounds to tell yaw, you were alive I suppose.
The rag picker, with his horse driven wagon came jolting and bumping over the cobblestone road, per near daily, that I could always hear a block away. Little noises, you would hear them all in the fall laying on the grass, ear to the ground, even the wind had a fragrance in autumn, and smells were different. And it took the rag picker, a longtime to pass, so it seemed. Then grandpa’s voice stealthily could be heard across the house, it came as if it climbed the walls. He looked toward my mother, “What the damn hell are you screaming about,” and there on the floor sat frozen in fright was a one-hundred leg centipede, and my mother stood frozen as if it was Moby Dick. And once my grandfather got going, he could out swear a mule driver, at full trot. Yes, the aroma of fear crept into my mother’s consciousness. She hated spiders and centipedes like my wife hats rats, and mice.
I was only nine then, and more of a silent figure in the house. The time of talking was never when grandpa or mother were speaking, there was a firmness and hardness in that respect, to show respect to the elders.
Grandpa, as usually, stepped up in his stocking feet, to the centipede and stomped on him with his foot as if it was a tomato. And thus, the rhythm of the little house went back to normal, where uncle and aunt lived until they got married and left, and my brother and I lived until we were eighteen, then we were expected to hit the road and we did.