Our friend Jodi Lea Stewart wondered if I could, "bring a rusty bucket to life." So accepting her challenge I wrote the first part and posted it on Facebook Friday. Then the story kept talking to me and I had to finish it –So I wrote the second part this morning – Here they are together – Let me know if you think I gave life to "a rust bucket" – And please enjoy!
The Old Rusty Bucket
The peg, the rusty bucket hung on, was weather-beaten and worn as the rotting pine siding the old man had driven it into decades ago. Not much remained of the old man's shack. Most of the back half had long ago collapsed and fallen away. The small, leaning porch still sheltered the battered bucket, and occasionally a raccoon, fox or bird would visit. But never the old man. Time had taken him away.
True to its calling, the ancient bucket, now dented and brown with scarcely a hint of the once shiny galvanized metal, hung patiently on the crooked peg, waiting quietly to do its duty, should the old man return. For many a year the proud bucket had held spring water. Its friend the dipper hung on the bucket's side. The dipper fell away and down through the broken boards, out of sight, many seasons ago.
The porch had been a gathering place for neighbors, and for hours on end the old man would entertain with stories of his youth. Some true, some fantastic. The porch, the chairs, the old man's stories and the cool water in the bucket had folks dropping in almost every day. But that was a long time ago. The chairs, like the dipper are long gone. Like the old man.
Still the rusty bucket waits, perched on its friend the peg. No one has passed by since the oak, now towering above the porch, was just a seedling. For several seasons now a family of
Chickadees had found the bucket the perfect place to raise their brood. Their old nests still line the rusty bottom of the bucket. Perhaps they'll return in the spring.
This was the end of the first part I wrote last week when I accepted Jodi's challenge – Then I had to write the second part this morning – Please enjoy the rest of "Rusty Bucket"
The trail leading up the mountain was barely visible. It was obvious to the young woman and her horse the only thing keeping the trail alive at all was the deer and other wildlife who found its route the easiest to navigate. From the open fields at the mountain's feet to the beautiful high shelf among ancient, towering oaks and pines the trail meandered this way and that, avoiding steep areas, rock outcroppings, and dense thickets.
She'd heard of the trail, and the cabin in stories since her youth. Stories about her great-granddaddy and his family told to her by her granddaddy. Funny, she thought, how she seemed to be the only one who cared about those old stories, or this old abandon, overgrown farm. Or the old man, an almost forgotten horseman from a different era. All the times she listened to her granddaddy she never imagined she'd ride the trail to the top … in search of that old relic of a homestead.
As they climbed higher and higher she imagined he was riding with her. Riding his mare, Bluebell. Many of the old stories focused on that wonderful horse. They say she's buried behind the old cabin next to a towering rock. Her granddaddy had chiseled her name in the rock. She patted her mare's neck, "We'll see if we can't find that big rock today, Bluebell."
Riding alone, climbing the mountainside, she wrestled with the sadness and the happiness this ride brought her, as she admired the beauty that surrounded them. Sadness for the loss of her granddaddy, and the happiness of thinking this long forgotten farm was still here, even if the fields had long since returned to dense forest.
The trail now level, she pulled the paper from her coat pocket, studied the sketch, then swung down to investigate the lay of the land. "I think we've made it Bluebell!" She hugged Bluebell's neck, then led the way toward what looked like a clearing. A clearing overgrown with briers and thickets, but it could be the spot. It just could be.
Then she saw it, ahead of them, posed in a brilliant sun spot was the leaning roof of the old cabin's porch. Following the faint trail blazed by raccoons, foxes and other critters she and Bluebell pushed through the brush to the porch.
Bluebell picked at the grass and weeds as she studied the porch and shack. From the stories she'd heard the shack seemed small, now that she stood on the porch. Her porch. Never once did her granddaddy ever tell her he still owned the old farm. Never once did he tell her he would will it to her. But he did, and now it was hers. She sat down on the edge of a broken beam, chewed on a blade of grass, and shed a tear for the sweet old man. "I found it Granddaddy, just where you said it would be." Her watery eyes fell on the old bucket hanging on the wall.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry