Monday, September 6, 2010

Rock Of Ages

THE Rock..... Automatically, with only those two words, my siblings should know what I am talking about. THE rock was a rock that sat in the landscaping of the house next door to my childhood home. Notice the capitalization on the word THE?? This is not a typo as this was not just any old rock. THE rock sat in the neighbor's landscaping to the side of their house that joined our house's driveway. Who knows how many owners owned our neighbors house throughout the years that my parents lived in our house and who knows how long that rock sat in that spot of our neighbors driveway but at some point in time that rock became THE rock.

What was so special about THE rock? In the rock world, probably not much but in a child's imagination, THE rock had an indentation on the top that offered a spot to make the most fantastic concoctions. As a child, I remember sitting for long periods of time next to THE rock - sometimes alone on a boring quiet day & sometimes with a sibling or a friend. Into THE rock's indentation would go dirt, water, hedge berries and any other special ingredients that were essential to making the perfect "soup" or mud pie. Finding the perfect stick to mix & stir our creations was critical as well. I am sure that on more than one occasion my mud pie masterpieces were laid out all over the driveway to "cool off" from THE rock stove top.

We grew up, life went on and my parents moved out of our childhood home in 1988. The old neighborhood changed dramatically (for the worse) and years went by. However, about 10 years ago, my sister Marysia was in Buffalo for a visit. At some point during her visit, Marysia and I drove through our old neighborhood for the sake of reminiscing our childhood. Keep in mind, the old neighborhood in East Side Buffalo isn't exactly the safest place in the city. It was a rainy afternoon as our car crept through the streets of our old stomping grounds. Marysia and I came to our childhood home and parked the car out front. We commented about various changes in our old home and the former homes of our former neighbors (who have all since left the area too). We spied THE rock and got nostalgic when thinking of the wonderful mud creations. And at that moment I decided I HAD TO have THE rock for my own home. With the crazed look in my eyes I know that Marysia was wondering (and worried...especially while in that now crime-ridden neighborhood) what I was going to do. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a note trying to explain the fact that I am attached to "a rock" (the stranger certainly wouldn't know it was THE rock) in his/her landscaping. My sister really thought I flipped my lid when I left my phone number and a statement expressing my desire to buy the rock. Yes - rainy day, note in hand, look of astonishment on Marysia's face, I proceeded to drop my number in the mailbox of a stranger in a really not good part of town. Marysia and I gawked at our childhood home for another minute and off we drove.

A half-hour drive later we arrived at my home at that time. We walked in the house to David seeming very confused about why the guy on the phone was calling to speak to me about a rock. Woooo Hoooo! I quickly grabbed the phone and bargained for THE rock. I, of course, played it cool and tried to minimize the importance of THE rock by bluffing, " IS *just* a rock after all". When all was said and done the stranger agreed to sell me the rock for $20. So, before long, I was out to the old neighborhood with a money order in hand (do you actually think I'd hand out my checking info with address??) to drop the money and grab THE rock. Yes, Marysia was still astonished but has since joked with me that I must leave THE rock to her in my will.

So this is the story.....THE rock sat in my 1st home's landscaping, tucked in the bushes that helped to shelter the birdies that would visit our feeders. When David and I moved into our new home this year, I was so worried that we would forget to take the rock that I made sure David removed THE rock weeks before our moving date and place it amoung our boxes to be moved. It wasn't until mid summer this year that we found a perfect spot for THE rock - nicely tucked under our corkscrew willow tree, beside the pond in our yard. We placed a child-sized park bench in that area as well. Madeline has enjoyed sitting on the bench, next to THE rock but has never quite discovered the magic THE rock has to offer......until today.

David and I were very busy with end of summer landscaping work. Madeline was doing a fairly good job occupying herself but eventually she became bored and was beginning to have the tendency to be underfoot. I decided to call over Madeline and told her a very special story about when Mama was a little girl. And so, Mama introduced her daughter to THE rock. Taking a brief intermission from the day's yard work, I felt like a child again as Madeline and I found special ingredients and the perfect stick for cooking. To Maddie, THE rock was "hot", to me the warmth I felt was in my heart for reliving and sharing beautiful memories.


Craig and Phyllis said...

Oh, that was beautiful!! I want to come see that rock now, too. And I was thinking as I was reading, about the mudpies we made when I was growing up and how none of my kids have done that. Yes, Brooke concocted "soup" in ice bucket pails of tall grass, wild onions, and mint, but never mudpies. I may have to take my boys out this week and make mudpies with them. And all because of your post! : )

And thank you for your comment today. I'm sure you were much more organized than I can ever hope to be! And I will let you know about any more interesting bugs that show up in my house. : )

Marty said...

There has been so much shit brewed in that rock. The thing was used as a mortar, with sticks or stones as pestles, for all manner or concoction, some involving toxic yew berries, dirt, and perhaps even real shit. Such memories. Great that someone in the family possesses it.