The House on Piney Ridge Road


***********************************
Miss Landers, turning to Beaver: “Beaver, I hope you still want to be a writer”
Beaver: “Yes Miss Landers, you get yelled at a lot for things you didn’t do, but I still wanna to be a writer.”
Miss Landers: “That’s good Beaver, I’m glad”.
*********************************** © Leave It To Beaver

I heard mom call out from the kitchen, “Supper time! Y’all come to the table”. I jumped up from Daddy’s chair and turned off the TV then headed for the dining room. That’s when I heard Baby Girl let out a strange gurgling noise from my parent’s bedroom. She had been sick all day, wheezing and coughing, she was only two years old. Mama ran past me and went into her room, “Ellsworth!” Dad rushed by faster than I’d ever seen him move. I could hear them fussing over baby girl and whispering frantically, but I heard Mama say, “She’s not breathing we’ve got to get her to the hospital!”. It was only five or six o’clock in the evening but it was the middle of winter and already dark outside.
Dad came out, got their coats then went back and brought the baby out. I and my brother and sister stood in the center of the living room, watching all this transpire in front of us. Mom came out, bent down and spoke to us, “We’re taking baby girl to the emergency room, you all have to stay here, Baby Ray is in charge, ya’ll listen to him. We’ll be back as soon as we can”.

I was petrified, our parents had never left us alone ever before, there was always at least one of them home when we were home. That’s how everyone lived in our neighborhood, mothers stayed home and took care of the kids and the house and the fathers went to work. But the kids were never home alone and just the thought of it scared me to death.
“We’ll be back as soon as we can, lock the door behind us” and they were gone out the front door. I stood there and watched them go down the road toward the church and then stayed to see their headlights go past the church on the paved road to town. “Close the door!” Baby Ray said, then he came over, closed it and locked it himself. Ba-baJean was sitting in Daddy’s big chair, I went over and sat with her, Bay Ray squeezed in on the other side of me. We sat there and didn’t move for what seemed like hours.
“I’m scared”, I said to no one, “When is Mama and Daddy coming home?” – “They’ll be back after they take care of Baby Girl”, Ray said. “Ba-bajean, when is mama coming home?”, I hadn’t gotten the answer I wanted from my big brother so I tried somebody else.
“I don’t know, I want them to come home too”.


Upstairs
We were way too scared to even think about hiding upstairs

Our dinner was still sitting on the dining room table untouched, the TV was turned off. Every light in the house was on, but all you could hear was the quiet of the night. That is, until we heard something! We all heard it at the same time. It sounded like people were walking around in the yard, we could hear their feet clumping about and a low whispered muttering, it almost sounded like there was a party outside that we hadn’t been told about. Every now and then we could feel people brushing against the house, almost like they were pushing and shoving one another, then we knew for sure that was what was happening because between people being pushed up against the house we could hear someone say “Move!, Move!” Then more foot pounding and house brushing against. “Who’s that? What are people doing in our yard?”, I asked. Somebody said “Get up and go look out the window”, I don’t know who said it, I only know that nobody moved out of Daddy’s big chair, we were stuck like glue. After so long we realized somebody had to go look to see what was going on outside, so Baby Ray said, “I’ll go look out the kitchen window”. He got up, went into the kitchen and turned off the lights. Bay-Ray climbed up on the bench beside the table and slid over to the window as slowly and quietly as he could. He reached over and pulled back on the window shade just enough to peer around the corner hoping whoever was outside wouldn’t see him. “COWS! There are a bunch of cows in our yard, must be hundreds of them!” Bajean got up to look, “Yep cows, Where’d all these cows come from?”. I was relieved but still scared, why would there be cows in our yard, we didn’t own any cows. I finally got up and looked outside, there were cows in the front yard, cows in the back yard and cows on either end of the house. There were cows mooing (“Move!”) and pushing and shoving each other AND brushing up against the house.

Just about that time Mom and Dad pulled into the yard, they came in and told us that Baby Girl was going to be OK, she’d had an asthma attack or some kind of fever that, at the time, I’d never heard of before. Dad knew exactly where the cows had come from, he got back in the car and drove up the road. The next thing I knew I saw Mr. Robert Bowen in the yard with a stick, heading his cows back up the road and through the hole in the fence that they’d gotten out through. Swinging his stick in the air, “Get back up there! Come on, get!”. Somehow they knew exactly where “THERE” was and headed back up the road, it always puzzled me how they knew that. Yep, that experience was one for the record books, that frightful night, in the house on Piney Ridge Road.

Post Script

After reading this my mother added some details to the story that I was not aware of…

They did not take “Baby Girl” to the emergency room, they took her to Dr. Ashby’s office. They went inside and dutifully sat in the colored waiting area to wait their turn. The nurse saw that child was having convulsions and ran in and told Dr. Ashby, he came out immediately and to the shock of all there waiting, scooped the baby from my mother’s arms and rushed her into the examination room. (If you’re counting, this is the second time Dr. Ashby blatantly disregarded a Jim Crow law in one of my stories)

5 responses

  1. I am sorry if you get offended but the story had me cracking up. I was using my imagination of how all of you must have looked sitting on that couch while “people” were in your yard.

    Like

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