The Scariest Place on the Farm
Every farm has one: a creepy, scary place that terrifies the very core of your being. Since I had a tendency to be underfoot and often a little too chatty for my grandmother's sanity she often sent me to run here and there gathering this and that. I loved it; except when she sent me to one particular corner of the basement.
Rising early with the sun shining and the wind whipping my braids energy seemed to just ooze from my being...as did my chatter. Ever so often my grandmother stops to give me a look; the one that says how can that much noise come out of something so small? She isn't angry with me, she just has so much to do. As our morning work draws us to the kitchen, the inevitable request is made run down to the basement to get some canned goods for me.
I tremble. Nothing, I mean nothing, turns my blood cold like the pantry corner of the basement. Do I have to? I know the answer to that. Hesitation holds me in place- frozen. My mind races to find any way to escape the horrifying venture to the canning shelves. With no good excuse in mind my feet make their way to the top of the basement stairs.
Bright green indoor/outdoor carpet covering scritch-scratches under my bare feet as my heart begins to race faster with each step. Reaching the bottom of the staircase I stop, just to the left past the wash machine looms the canning shelves. Shrouded in darkness I inch closer into the deep; I feel for the chain to pull on the small light. Who put it so far back?
Right before I decide to run in the other direction and give up the little string cord is found...yank... faint light looms overhead. That's no help.. to make matters worse, the black metal shelves are curtained by vinyl table clothes. Inching toward the closest shelf I hold my breath as my hand pulls the cover back (surely there is something terrible hiding in such a creepy place). Not there; next shelf. My heart pounds as I move from one shelf to another. Last shelf of course I will myself to look once more. Finally..with jar in hand, I race back up the stairs through the kitchen to my grandmother's side.
Out of breathe and scared to death, relief starts to calm my racing heart and shaking hands. Grandma looks at the jar on the counter and says I thought I told you to get two. Oh, no; here we go again.
There was rarely any real thing to be scared of down there in the dark pantry corner of the basement, but little girls have great imaginations..and, in my grandmother's eyes..probably watch too much TV. On occasion one of her cats was found hiding on those shelves, sending me running and screaming back up those stairs unwilling to go back down. With a click of her tongue and a shake of her head, my grandmother went herself, quite disapproving of my panic.
All the years I went to the farm, those shelves never changed. Black and metal covered with vinyl table clothes to keep the dust and bugs off. It is a fond memory, but it still sends a chill over me when I think of rounding those stairs and facing 'the deep'.