Saturday, September 24, 2016

Emotions in the rubble

Yesterday afternoon I felt all kinds of emotions, running the gamut from, well, the sublime to the ridiculous.

I watched like a giddy child as a demolition crew tore down an abandoned house in the neighborhood. It's interesting how destruction enthralls us. Maybe we wish we were handling the levers of that scoop shovel ourselves as it ravenously engulfed and tore down walls. It's easy to be impressed by such power over otherwise strong materials such as wood and brick. I even filmed through my camera phone four minutes of the work. The once magnificent house of the middle class was a pile of debris in less than an hour.

Yet there was a sadness in the air too. Most houses in my neighborhood have stood since the 1890's, so that old girl was in the range of 120 years old. Workmen, professionals like brick masons, carpenters, plasterers (everything was wet plastered back then), electricians, roofers and more had pried their skills over several months to create a tidy Victorian home which had served as refuge for who knew how many for over a century. It had all fell down in a matter of minutes.

And there was a piquancy as well. The folks I knew who had lived there were a sister and a brother. Miss Jeter always had a laugh, smile, or honestly pleasant how are you. She had a big blue Buick she loved. I still see her and that car rolling across the hood. Her brother, Mr. Wilson A. Watson, was about as unassuming an old gentleman as you could know. He lost a leg in World War II and hobbled around as best he could with his cane. He would laugh and joke with you quickly, and wore a grin which was all sunshine despite his obvious challenges. He never in my presence complained over them. I don't even remember when they died, and I'm ashamed that I don't know.

This world just keeps on turning. Yet every once'n awhile it does seem to stop to let us reflect.

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