Winter Marathon 2008–Patty Clements

Winter Marathon 2008


-by Patty Clements


    There is a strange, no, eerie sensation in the pit of my stomach. This unique art exhibit of battered old shelves filled with nails, bolts, clamps, bottles, and old wooden crates, awakens something long forgotten in me.
     As a young girl I spent almost every weekend and summer vacation on various family farms. I whiled away many hours in barns, corncribs, and sheds playing with my cousins, milking cows, and helping Uncle Lavon do odd jobs around the farm.
     The dirt, dust, and rust resurrect sensory images that reside deep in the recesses of my memory. Farm buildings always had a certain rusty dusty odor about them. I'm transported back in time to a rickety shed on my grandparents' farmstead.
     I visited there a few years ago with my husband and some friends. We explored the farmyard and buildings examining remnants from the past. We came across rusty old tools, cracked leather harnesses, and broken pieces of machinery. Terry, who collected antiques, was able to tell us bits and pieces of information about many of the antique farming implements we found scattered around the barnyard.
     Eventually we found ourselves standing outside a weathered, white-turned-gray shed. The door on the wobbly old shed creaked as it opened. I remember hoping a strong gust of wind wouldn't come along and blow the shed over with us inside. It seemed like a distinct possibility!
      Inside there was a potpourri of household items and tools. We pawed through the rusty relics and deliberated their possible purposes. Eventually I discovered two beautiful antique white doorknobs attached to rusty metal plates. We speculated about their origin on the homestead and concluded that they came from my grandparents' home, long since torn down. In my mind's eye, I saw my dad's hand reach out and turn a white doorknob to go out the door. The pearl white doorknobs suddenly became treasured trophies to me, as my father died when I was but 3 months old. Those same doorknobs now reside on my shelf, until the day comes when I create a new purpose for them.
     A beautiful memory slowly returns to the recesses of my mind. Once again I am standing in a museum looking at the innards of an old red barn; amazed at their power to evoke such vivid memories and place them into this moment in time.

      Author's Note: This is the final draft (?) of a piece I've been working on since the Writing Marathon. I've been fortunate enough to have two other writers be a part of my circle to help me glean my story. It started because of my intrigue with an art exhibit. Writing about my reaction has been an adventure that brought back many memories from my youth. My goal was to use descriptive language and alliteration to create concrete images to help my readers "see" my story

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