A mile south of town center in a sleepy town in southern Ohio, the road passes the county fairgrounds then dips forty feet or so into a valley of rich farmland. Face on, the house resembled a child’s face, two large second-story windows with metal awnings for eyelids and the front door centered for a surprised look. The porch is simple wood planks a nearly flat roof with four unturned wooden posts.
The old farmhouse had been renovated with a new kitchen, bath and carpeting. The walls had been painted the color desired, a medium sage green in the living room and dining room. Lace sheers on the windows allowed the shadows of dancing branches and leaves to play on the walls. In the living room hung a large tapestry of a large Spanish ship, sails billowing, while traversing fierce ocean waves. A wood shelving unit held a replica of a Galleon ship, a gift from her brother. The walls of the kitchen were covered in a red, white and blue wallpaper the little geometric design mimicked European fabric designs. This move gave her the illusion of stability.
Life being somewhat unpredictable seemed to have settled down for the moments she lived here. Marcia woke at six a.m. every morning and would begin the usual rituals required, teeth brushing, wet and comb fly away tresses, lay outfits on the bed. This year her children were registered in school so a large school bus would pull up in front to pick up her eldest daughter, Lydia for first grade. A short while later her second daughter, Kathryn would climb on a little bus for Head Start preschool. This program was new, and they met in a reconstructed building on an old farm. The building that had the beams of wood resemble a swiss alp home. By this time, Marcia had a little boy Henry. Somedays Marcia and Henry would ride along on the little bus with Kathyrn to help with cutting, gluing, and snacks and would gather some peace and joy for herself.
When they arrived home a large roasting pot of stuffed cabbage or meat loaf would be filling the house with a welcoming aroma. Having been raised in the rural south this place felt like home. Would this be home?
Through the school year, Marcia had made a habit of walking with her three little ones to the library. She believed the whole world was stored on these shelves, just waiting to be discovered. The summer started off no different. Load up the wagon with bags of pretzels, pb&j, water or Kool-Aid and they were off for adventure. They all liked the coolness and calm of the library with its large rug placed with pillows for kids to lounge on with their new finds. When Henry was no longer entertained, they would check out their weekly lot of books and head out into the sun.
This summer joy would fill her heart with indelible memories. She and the kids walked to the hardware store after the library. The store still looked like a general store from a few generations’ back. Here she came upon a kite, having never flown one herself, she had made up her mind that she was going to do all the things she had missed. Just like the experience of the preschool when she sat in the little chairs where her knees bent up awkwardly, she intended to try many things with her children as they enjoyed it also. Today it would be a kite. So, having picked up extra string and reading the instructions on the cellophane sleeve she felt confidant. By this time Henry found an inflatable ball to replace last years’ model. She did not typically buy things for herself or the children, so this purchase felt a bit daring.
The fairgrounds gates were always open, so they went inside and found a field of grass, unmarred by livestock. Lydia and Kathryn tugged on opposite corners of the sheet before deciding it was smooth enough. Sandwiches came out next while Marcia attached the A tab into the B slot and tied the string into the E loop.
After the snack, she gave Lydia and Kathyrn the job of keeping the kite off the ground, while she ran to get the proper lift from the slight breeze. Most times it would lurch upward to about fifteen feet then loop-d-loop before painfully targeting earth nose-first.
After a few of these attempts, the girls ran off with Henry to play a bounce and catch game with the new ball. Marcia would run up and down the field a few more times and feel the joy of the breeze in her hair and the kite in flight if only for brief moments.
If only this could last this time.