My Great-grandma’s house was huge. It was surrounded by at least 5 acres of land. The grape arbor stretched on for yards and yards. The barn was big enough to house a jet. The animal pens were so tall even Great-grandpa Hurst couldn’t see over them and he was tall. The trees surrounding the house were full grown and offered comfort and shade. At night the air was crisp and clean as we sat and visited and played and ate out on the back lawn. I used to play for hours in the grape arbor. The root cellar was a little frightening for me, I only went down there when an adult went with me, but when I entered, the musty smell of moist earth and stored vegetables was so inviting. It told my senses that there would always be food at Great-grandma’s house.

Great-grandpa Hurst had made a box for cutting homemade bread. It was simply a three-sided box; just the size of a loaf of homemade bread with a slit to put the knife in just far enough back from the front to cut a perfect slice of bread every time.

I don’t remember where I slept at my Great-grandma’s house, but I always looked forward to visiting this place in southern Utah.

Several years ago I revisited Great-grandma’s house. I drove right to it after a 30-plus year absence. There it was in all its run-down-splendor. A little bitty, one bedroom house sitting on about 1 acre of land. The grape arbor, long since dead, was there--about 10 feet long. The barn was there, about the size of an average barn. The bug box Great-grandpa made and filled with honey to catch the night insects while we sat in the backyard was still there, dry and useless. There was a bed frame and springs sitting out on the front lawn, well used by the local small animals. The windows were all gone and the remnants of curtains blew out through the gaping holes. This grand palace was just a little, pitiful piece of property no one wanted. I stood looking on and remembered that I was surprised to find out that the reason for the bread box cutter was because Great-grandma had gone so blind she could not see to cut a straight piece of bread. And I remembered the story my mother related to me about a time we were all there sleeping—outside, on the floor, on the couch—she had to get up in the night and go to the bathroom. There was only one bathroom and you had to walk through Great-grandma’s room to get there. When she tip-toed in she saw Great-grandma with her head on Great-grandpa’s chest, he with his arm around her, both sound asleep, they were both in their 80’s then. I feel grateful to have been included in that kind of love.

Maybe no one wants that land, but oh, how I hated to walk away.

1 comments

Anonymous  

On 5/26/07, Lynn J. Rogerson wrote: I remember when I was six,seven and eight, my Mom would let me go vist the Hurst cousins in Blanding during the summer. I always stayed with Uncle Riley in the house you described.At that time Grandpa and Grandma H. lived in Manti, Utah and worked in the temple. I spent a coouple of weeks with them diring the summers I was eight and nine years old. Grandpa didnt have a shop to tinker in but he loved to fish and we would go fishing often. When they returned to Blanding, Uncle Riley and his family moved out so G and G Hurst could have the house. During the summers I spent in Blanding with Uncle Riley I spent mos of myu time with Reed, one of Uncle Rileys sons. I remember the barn, grape arbor, root cellar and the large garden next to the house on the south side. Uncle Lynn.