Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Gone to C-Town

When I was a little kid, my parents decided to move from the ‘Ford to C-Town. The move was all of about twenty miles and I honestly don’t know why they decided to move. Maybe it was because they knew Keystone Lake would be created in a few years and the ‘Ford would have to move anyway.

So one Father’s Day, Mom dropped Dad off at the lot they’d purchased in C-Town so he could dig the footing for our new house. Then Mom took Sister Debbie and me to visit her aunt and uncle outside of town. (And to keep us out of Dad’s way.)

I’m not sure who poured the foundation, but the Smith Brothers in Pawnee were the carpenters. Dad did some of the work himself like the wiring, and he and Mom did the painting.

I don’t remember a whole lot about it, but I remember the cases of Nehi Grape Pop Mom bought for us to drink. (Daddy liked it, too!) And cans of Redwood Rez they used to stain the outside of the house. (The empty cans were just the right size to be potties for two little girls, too. LOL!)

When we’d leave C-Town and head for the Ford, we drove on a road that rose and dipped to cross the bridge and reminded me of a small roller coaster.

On our way to the Ford where we still lived, we drove along the river road. I always knew we were almost there when I saw the big rock at the edge of the river. Daddy still calls it the Jesus Saves rock, because someone painted Jesus Saves on it some time.

I remember it as the horse rock. Same reason. <g>

The house we lived in with G & G was great. It had a bedroom right on the other side of the living room. The dining room opened off the living room, too, as well as a hallway that led to two more bedrooms and Dad’s office at the top of a very steep flight of stairs.

The first bedroom had a window that actually slid up to open into the hallway, because it had been part of another house (or maybe the entire house.) It was added to that house sometime before I came along.

If I remember right, the house was either three or four buildings put together. 🙂 It might have been noticeable to someone else, but as a kid, it was just lots of fun. I remember the washer being in the bathroom along with a huge claw foot bathtub. (Wouldn’t I love to have that today!)

And the bed Mama, Daddy, Debbie and I slept in was really a pair of twin beds pushed together. (Debbie made it a habit of falling down in the crack.)

My favorite thing to do on a rainy day (when I couldn’t run in the pasture and get cockle burrs tangled in my hair) was to sit on the porch swing on the big front porch. I could swing it really high as long as Grandmother didn’t come outside. Sometimes that swing went to the moon with me on it, and other times it went to far away lands, such as California and Kentucky.

On Saturday night, the cousins, aunts and uncles all came to Grandmother’s to watch Gun Smoke on TV. (Only G & G had a TV back then.) I remember sitting in the dark, the light from that little screen the only thing in the room to see by. The kids sat on the floor while the parents carried chairs from the dining room to sit on after the couch and wingback chairs were full.

Were families closer then? Maybe. A couple of years after we moved to C-Town, G & G built a house next door to us and lived there until they died.

Now only one son lives in the ‘Ford. Many of the cousins live in C-Town. Of course, the cousins are all grown up and have kids and grandkids (many of them, anyway) of their own.

The river road is gone, I think. At least the river is gone. It became Keystone lake back in the ’60’s. And if the Jesus Saves rock is still in one piece, I imagine it’s gone under a ton of mud.

The original ‘Ford is gone, but the wonderful people and their hardy spirits are still very present in the people who lived and loved in that great place.

I’m really not sure trading the town for a fifty-year-lake was a good bargain.