for the memories (a story)

For the Memories

Everyone has that place.

That village or neighborhood that everywhere you look, you can recount a story.

Of friends and family gatherings. Of games and chats with your arms around each other.

Of lovers’ trysts and meaningful moments.

A tree, a brook or pond that was the perfect place to give you a bit of privacy when you wanted it. A lane or a copse of trees that hardly anyone went to.

Then there were the buildings. The places where some of the dads worked. Even a few of the teenage boys.

The factory’s parking lot. Where you chased each other thru the stacks piled outside and when the floor was clear, even thru the building itself.

Or the village store that had those little things you were always running out of. Bread, milk, scotch tape, light bulbs… But also had the post boxes and the name and number of the guy who delivered mail and shoveled out driveways with his truck when a blizzard went thru. And it was more than a teenage boy could handle with his hand-held one. No matter how much dad wanted to save money or teach his son responsibility. He came thru every winter Sunday morning too, so the villagers could go to church.

The school where you played baseball or soccer in the field and some of the village kids went to school. The others came from surrounding farms. Some of the kids went to other schools in surrounding towns. By bus, car or even taxis.

And the feed mill where you could play hide and seek or tag, after hours.

Then there were the churches. It could be so divisive if they were strangers, but practically everyone in town had grown up together and many were related. So the factor of one being evangelical and the other being old-school, conservatives who wouldn’t yell in church if it were on fire, didn’t really impact on how the people in town got along. The teens even visited back and forth as they wished, without much bother from the parents.

And after all that, there were your friends’ and family’s houses. Where you visited for Sunday dinners and had sleep-overs when the parents needed a break. Or one of the kids had a birthday celebration.

Chock full of memories. Full of emotions and bonds.

A place worth defending, if the next town over decided to feud for some reason. Or God forbid an army came thru. When the men were mostly away hunting, fishing, or even threshing in the back forty. And the women had to defend their home and children from attack.

That aspect didn’t change much in any village. In any era. Whether it was a bunch of tents, igloos, or a log-built long house. Or any neighborhood either.

Everywhere you looked was a memory, a depth of feeling. A place worth dying for. Whether you were a man or a woman.

The women marked their faces, gathered their skirts into their husbands’ trousers and grabbed a shovel or rake, or even a scythe and defended their home.

And the army had no idea who that shrieking banshee was coming at them, till they were on the business end of whatever they were carrying.

And the children found a new reason for hide and seek and tag. A new emotion for their psycho-drama. For a village that’d never be the same again. Because the blood in the earth was now about more than a skinned knee.

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