Like I said, I've been a newlywed three times and you know the rest, but those times were not without some memorable moments. Take, for example, when my first husband and I left my duty station in Portsmouth, Virginia to live on a farm somewhere in central Pennsylvania. I affectionately refer to the area as “Poverty Pocket.” And the farm onto which we moved to live and start a new life was strictly from hunger.
I am a city girl. I grew-up in a city of 125,000 people. We lived in a Cape Cod house on a paved street that had lights and sidewalks. The grocery store was a five-minute walk in one direction, the church 7-minutes in the other, and the high school was 15 minutes' walk from my father's house. My grandparents and uncle lived just across the back alley in their own home. We all had a backyard and a front yard and that was enough space for us.
My first ex, Kevin, as born in New Jersey but his family was from up there in the region of Poverty Pocket. I call it that because if you don't own a farm, or if you're not a doctor, lawyer, or other business owner, you're destined to be broke. There are no jobs or employers of any size there.
So Kevin's family was finished with city life in New Jersey and they return to Poverty Pocket. Mom, dad, and six children, and they settle as renters on a certain farm that was called the “Potato Farm.” And where do you think Kevin wants to settle after I am released from active duty in the Coast Guard? You guessed right – on the Potato Farm. I was not quite 23 years old and knew no better so I went along with him. If I was 24 or 25 I would have given him another answer!
The place was about a five-minute drive from his family's home in the village. I never thought of that as being bad. Right. It was a very old house with a red metal roof and green shingles on the sides and had not been lived-in for at least a year prior to our arrival there.
Kevin left Portsmouth a month before I did so he could prepare the place for both of us, and I have to say that he did as good a job as one can with a 140-year-old house. Most of his efforts went into the kitchen. He hung new cabinets, installed a new sink and counter tops, new gas range, new refrigerator, new sheet vinyl on the floor, and a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling. There were a new washer and dryer in a corner of the kitchen. He also closed-off the older portion of the house that we were not to live in.
I got a ride from Portsmouth with a fellow Coast Guardsman who was passing through the area, right to Kevin's family's house in the village, where I was welcomed with open arms. I wish it was with an open bottle of whiskey as well!
We had supper and Kevin took me up to where we were supposed to live. That's what I signed-on to do, so I was ready.
We drove out of the village, down the main road, and off to the right, up into the hills where the electric and telephone lines ended, along with civilization, or so I thought. Along the dirt roads, we went until we turned left and went down a long land, where we stopped. Kevin announcer, “We're home!” I'm glad somebody felt like that!
Over the next week, I tried to get accustomed to the house. We had a well for water and a jet pump in the basement that acted-up like a spoiled child. Our heat came from an oil-fired furnace that was far too small for the size of the house that it was in. The house was so drafty that you could not light a match in the kitchen without the breeze blowing it out. The kitchen floor was sagging so badly that a marble could roll from any point on the floor to the center. The basement had a dirt floor that was about four feet from the floor above it, so you had to duck your head to be down there at all. But that was home.
We were there for a week when Kevin, who was never sick, came down with the worst flu that both he and I have ever seen. The man was sick. I mean, so sick that he could barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom! And the fact that the bedroom was upstairs and the bathroom downstairs, right off the kitchen, did not make it any easier for him. I know that if he had died, he would have been thankful. He was that sick.
About a week into the illness, I was able to coax him to come to the kitchen and have some tea and toast. He descended the stairs with the speed of an arthritic old man and shuffled his way to the table, where he sat in his pajamas and robe while I made him some toast with butter and grape jam and a cup of tea. It was the first he had eaten in a week. I remember it well.
Kevin sat at the table, bent over with aches and pains, slowly taking nourishment, as I was folding clothes from the dryer. I had an armful of things to take upstairs and put on the dresser and I walked towards the stairs. I turned right and got about half-way up the stairs. That's when Kevin reports having heard the wash hit the steps and me come flying back downstairs.
He asked me what was happening. I told him that there was a snake in the hall at the top of the stairs.
Kevin slowly rose from his chair, and all bent-over, he shuffled to the stairs, walked-up, looked, and judged two things to be true: 1/ There was no snake up there, and, 2/ I was seeing things.
Now I am not necessarily afraid of snakes in their right setting, but my house is not that setting. However, if Kevin said that there is no snake in the hallway, then he might be right. So I ventured to the stairs to pick-up the clothing that I had dropped. I got about half-way up the steps and again, I returned without touching any steps on the way down.
I shouted to Kevin that there was most certainly a snake up there!
He again arose, this time with more resolve, and he saw the tail of a large black snake hanging down from the window sill where the snake was getting some sun.
“It's a black snake, “ he told me, “It's not harmful and it eats rats and mice. Let me get my gloves on and I will throw him outside.” That course of action did not set well with me and I told him as much, in the strongest of terms. “Kill it!,” I told him. “I don't care how, just kill it.”
Kevin was feeling awful with the flu and the snake disturbing the peace did not do him any good. He shuffled to the back door and took the .22 caliber rifle in his hand, checked it for ammunition, put a round in the chamber, and went upstairs.
I heard 3 gunshots. Kevin returned to the kitchen looking worse than when he went upstairs. “Snake's dead,” he said, and put the rifle back where he had found it. Then he reached for the aspirin and took 6 of them and went back up to bed.
I was petrified to go upstairs and I needed help so I called my mother-in-law and told her what had happened. She sent her husband, a gem of a man whom I shall fondly remember, to help me.
Together we went upstairs. We could still smell the gunpowder in the hallway. It looked like a scene from the Wild West or a gunfight at the OK Corral. There were bullets gouged into the base moldings on the left side of the hallway and evidence of where one bullet had gone through the folds of the drapes and into the ceiling. And there was the black snake, healthy and cut down in the prime of a black snake's life. He was a fair-sized specimen. I had the creeps as my father-in-law carried it out of the house and threw it over the fence and into the pasture.
Kevin's health gradually returned but my love for living on that damn farm, as little as it ever was, became even less after that snake got shot in the hallway.
We left that farm to return to city life, with a vengeance, after 4 years there. After problems with the well, frozen plumbing, being snowed-out, and having strange visitors come knocking at 02:00 on the night of the new moon.
I don't miss that place any more than I miss Kevin.
Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great Week.
✿ ڰۣ❤In Loving Light from the Fairy Lady❤ڰۣ✿