Friday, November 5, 2010

Time and Place... Terrance Dennis

A place brings out emotion. It is a feeling unmatched by just any old thing you could think up with the most vivid imagination. Nostalgia rings true to a place central to the hearts of those who experience it. Whether the emotion is positive or negative, the mere thought and image of a certain place can trigger even the slightest details and situations from years before that come from that place. However, for any positive nostalgic image, such as mine, it is hard to weigh whether one could remember more detail if the image was positive or negative. For myself, negative places are the ones I try to make myself forget, but the positive ones are the ones that can never be erased.

Located at the corner of a small highway and gravel road, sits the house. At the beginning of a windy array of gravel roads leading to other country-style homes, trailers, and pastures, you will find my aunt’s house. Inside, you’ll find what looks to be sort of the updated version of the homes along the gravel roads. There are big throw rugs, a fireplace once you in past the dining area to the ever-populated downstairs living room. The carpets are dated and brown and the walls seem plain with the occasional band of wallpaper along the lower portion of the bathrooms. A lot went on that house before she died. The hustle and bustle associated with the holiday season mixed with the never-ending flow of energy given off by each family member as each season turned. Throughout the years, it wasn’t hard to find something to satisfy any need that may come. For instance, I knew there would be literally nothing to do once I got there, because the town was so small and people came by the few. However, I could always expect that once I got there, I would be surrounded in the comfort of family and relaxation.

My uncle had these recliners. They were my place of rest during the day. When I wasn’t running around with my cousin or raiding the pantry, I would be lounged up in one of the two Laz-E-Boys. They were stationary; therefore they were my little place of rest. My uncle’s specific chair didn’t rock, it only reclined. When he wasn’t knocked out sleeping and snoring in it, I would sometimes sit in his chair. Sitting in the specific chair gave me a sense of power; I was the “man of the house” like he was. It never failed that I would sit in that chair and my chest would stick out a little bit farther, because now I was sitting on the thrown, and all was good at that very moment. Being that I was a kid, I preferred to keep moving a little bit all the time, so I would more than likely choose the chair that rocked so I could at least find a little rhythm to satisfy my need to stay active even though I was at rest in these chars. I would take naps, read, play on Mom’s laptop, play with my figurines, or just use my crazy imagination to make things up to keep me occupied. See, not only did I find that this was my place of rest, but when I was at rest was the time that my imagination could run its course. Come to think of it, there used to be a love seat where the recliners sat. When you stand between the living room and dining area, the little stairway leading to the downstairs was to your right and the stairwell leading upstairs would be at your left. I was about a four-foot drop if you decided to jump down into the living room from that spot, and when the love seat was still there, please believe that us kids would hurl ourselves over that shallow drop. It now seems all too ironic that with every jump down, I would land securely on my seat and chill. When I hit that seat, I might have gotten scolded, I might have even missed, but I would never leave sooner than an hour after impact. I later learned this was not such a good idea when dealing with the recliners. My aunt and uncle would rearrange the couches and chairs throughout the years, but no matter where they placed those recliners, I would always find my way back to them throughout the stay.

Some may think that a fireplace is just a fireplace. To me, I have never seen a single fireplace that gave such an emotional tie to love and warmth as the one at my aunt’s house. It was the first thing I looked at once I peeked around the corner to the living room, it would always be crackling at night, my uncle and I would always throw logs in to rekindle the flames just before the family would sit down to a peaceful movie night. My strong tie to Christmas always motivated me to sort of rest and stare at this fireplace in hopes of Santa dropping in as I was glancing at it. It was the focal point of the house though it was small and tucked deep into the back wall of the downstairs living room. The noise it made as logs would hit the inside of the little doors was auditory throughout the house no matter where you were situated at that moment. The smell of the burning wood mixed with the smell of the laundry room connected to the living room radiated from the downstairs to the kitchen upstairs. It was the source of light, ironically the focal point of the house, other than the television when my cousins and I would stay up playing until wee hours of the morning. Truth be told, that fireplace is the image that comes to mind when I think of my definition of warmth; no words or descriptions, but simply the image of one fireplace that did everything for me by simply existing.

We don’t go there anymore. Since the death of my aunt, the thought of this place, which I referred to as my second home, seems all to somber. But through the negative, I’m able to see the positive out of this situation through the little things that have stuck with me since my childhood. My nostalgic views of warmth, comfort, security, and peace are all tied to events and objects from this place that exists in a tiny little speck of land located on this giant planet filled with wonders and spectacles vast beyond human recollection! But this is my space. Though this may not be my world, nostalgia lives deep within my place located in tiny Dixon, Missouri in a small house in which no one will understand its significance. I not only understand, but I adore the significance of my place. Though negativity surrounds its situation, deep within is that house which is always good.

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