The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Old Homeplace

By Naomi Dickenson Wells © 1987

Issue: January, 1987

An old Blue Ridge Mountain homeplace.An old Blue Ridge Mountain homeplace.I strolled down Memory Lane today and saw through the mist of tears a scene so dear and precious to me. The old home of my childhood days stood staring into the gloomy stillness of its surroundings, as if it had these words to say:

"I was once young and strong but now I am old and feeble, and alone. Father Time has wrought many changes since my foundation was laid. The youthful hands which so patiently and lovingly hewed and fitted my rough frame together have long ceased from their labors, and lie in peace on these hills which surround me.

I have been a happy dwelling place for families who found love and comfort within my rugged walls, and warmth around my fireside. I have heard the cry of new born babies. I have heard the patter of many little feet on my stairway. The echo of happy children at play has rung throughout my rooms, and too, I have heard their cries of pain.

Strangers and footsore travelers have found lodging under my roof, and my porches have been a happy place of visitation for the neighbors.

Storms have beat upon me; rivers of rain and mountains of snow have dripped from my eaves, and my weather beaten old stone chimney still stands erect, keeping vigil over my decaying remains.

News of war and death and tragedy have come to my doors and I have heard the moans of sorrowing loved ones. I have been a silent listener to saints in prayers, in song, in rejoicing.

Now I am just a hermit, living alone with my memories as sunlight filters through my dusty windows, revealing emptiness. My friends have gone away one by one on the pathway to my door.