String Creek Story part 2

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continuation of my life on String Creek
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  Part Two of String Creek StoryThe stairs had become soft from decades of Sunday school shoes; clunky Doc Martens,motorcycle boots, tai chi slippers, high schoolgirly shoes for those who chose to go toschool in town, cowboy boots, baby moccasinsand every 18 or 19 years, silky white weddingpumps w/ a slight heel and a soft curvingarch.It was these shoes, plus Father’s shined upbrown wingtips from the thrift store, or hiswork boots from Redwing all brand-new andgood to work for ten years or more andMother’s black lace-up, pointy-toed boots weall called “the witch shoes”, It was just thearchetype was so Wizard of Oz  we had tolaugh and, like everyone else, we calledBirkinstock sandals: “Birkies”.All these different shoes and boots brushed upthe stair’s heartwood like fine sandpaper andmade that perfume of Northern Californiapermeate the air. We were young, but weliked being called Father and Mother. Somechildren on the road called their parents bytheir first names and that was fine, just not forus. 1  I was a bride in my teens when I came to liveup Red Mountain. My husband, much older,knew how to live in the country, but I had toask a million questions. Danny could bringwhole dead trees down the side of a mountainwhen we first moved to String Creek and splitthem in sizable stove pieces. I, the “littlewife”, picked up chips and long thin pieces forkindling. I learned how to cook on awoodstove in a week, because we werehungry after all that work. I fixed up the place,pounding out tin cans flat and nailing them toholes in the floor where you could see rightdown to the earth below. I picked acorns outof the sides of the walls where squirrels storedthem in the mud and daub. They scolded me,and I scolded back. I re-daubed the hidey-holes.Soon, we started having babies and I earnedthe title of Mother, though I was called Mimi,unless the conversation was a very seriousone and that always began with Mother. Danny became Father and our family grew…We have always been an old-fashioned family.We were also a family of artists in one way or 2  another. Some of us liked to sew and createpatterns. So it became easy to make ourdesires come true when half of us liked todress in eighteenth century clothes and someof the others like to mix and match grungeand hippie. Some of us like to mix themaltogether and wear it all at once with joyand/or silliness.Many of our sons were prolific at martial artsand made their own Samurai clothing. Ourgirls’ wedding dresses were always a thing of Imagination that conveyed modesty andfantasy in such a way that Father and I werehalf in tears and big grins when we watchedour Girl of the moment walk so slowly downthose stairs as Judah, our oldest son played aslow Scottish air on his fiddle and thedaughter above Tabi sang the Wedding songin Gaelic. Father had a Universal Life Ministrylicense and married off his children as thepatriarch of our family.We had a funny ritual as to who gave theBride away.The Bride asked someone in our Tribe of kidsor even an aunt or uncle to walk her down the 3  aisle, so sometimes we might see an eighteenyear old girl being walked to the chupathrough a pathway of rose petals by a fiveyear old child, or by me, their own mother, orby a favorite aunt or older brother.We were never sure how it came about thatone was chosen, but the main ingredient wasalways love. No one bothered with tradition orif the right sex was chosen, it simply had to dowith love, The scent of redwood held anostalgia now similar to the scent of Nana’sfine cotton-lawn christening gown brought infrom drying on the lilac bush and alsosmelling secretly of the sea when the westwind blew a hard gale seventeen miles as theraven flew and thirty-two in the bus. My ownfather had been christened in that gown.Smells tangle themselves into everything uphere. In winter, most of us wear the acrid odorof fir kindling drippy w/ sap torched up in thewoodstove as the smoke reached up towoolen vests drying overhead on a clotheslinewe never take down.In summer it holds herbs or flowers orhomemade water-colored paper dolls. Andthe clothes that we had hand-washed. 4
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