It was not a long trip
A little over an hour
Through the countryside
Fields and farms
For me it was a nice drive
Through the country
But for her it was so much more

For her it was going home
Coming home
A phrase I only understood
Through what it meant to her
Home was ever in her heart

And often in her words

Once there
We would make a quick run
Through the old, dying town
By the house where she once lived
Past the burned remains of the house

Where her favorite aunt taught her the joy of books
We drove past where there once was a bank
A store and a post office
But now old crumbling concrete

Is all that remains

A quick turn took us back to the highway
And down the road a ways

To pull in under a huge old oak tree
In front of the old white church
Maple Springs

We got out of the car and slowly headed past

The old church to the field beyond

Where we walked among the stones
Careful where we stepped
The silence broken by the buzz
Of grasshoppers as they flew away
And twilling of the meadow larks

As we walked
We read the names and dates
Written in granite
Until we got to the stones with names
That were written in our hearts
We didn’t talk much then
But always stood there for a while
And let the memories speak to us
Feeling the pull from loose ends left with their passing

Sometimes we would pull a weed

Or touch the cool surface of a stone

And wipe at our eyes

Later we would wander a bit
Looking at other names
Sometimes new names
Names of her childhood friends

No matter where we wandered
She always came back a certain way
It was not obvious
But it was always the same
She took care to seem like it was nothing
Nothing special
Just another stone in a field of stones
But she always walked slowly past

And sometimes wiped her eyes
Past the stone
With a date from World War II
His name meant nothing to me
And I never asked what it meant to her
But every time we walked past
She cried


Michael F Mathews


It’s not home

Boca Raton, TX

12:13 PM


And now when I go visit her resting place, just yards away, I go by that stone like she used to do and for some reason, it makes me cry, too. 12-17-04