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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jack's house

Jack's House

Many. Many years ago. Jack shared the house with his mother.
They live out in the country. Jack raise beef cattle.
His mother cared for the home. She may have worked the cattle in her youthful days.
To me. At a young age. She looked old.
At that time. We lived in a caravan in the railway yards. The old highway had to be cross to reach Jack's house.
Each time, my mother, and I, visited. We found his mother in the fernery taking care of all her plants. On hot days, she'd sit in with the plants to read. The fernery was the coolest place to be when the weather turned hot.
The old Queens-lander home was always. Spotless. No dust. Or dirt to be found. The cattle dogs were never allowed to go up the stairs. Or into the kitchen.
We moved on with the work a few months later.
Driving past. Sometimes calling in to visit. Once the mother had died. We watched the steady deterioration of the place. The area around the house became cluttered by non-workable cars. Farm machinery. The long grass invaded the dumped machinery. Rush munched away at the metal. Decay from years of standing out in the weather. The machinery crying out for loving care to be restored to working condition. Their calls were never answered.
The highway changed to a new position by-passing the railway siding. Roads no longer followed the railway lines.
Work took away from the region.
We all grew older.
About eighteen years ago. We went for a days drive to visit Jack. Food packed. We set out early for the three hour drive.
What a shock awaited us. I don't think surprise fitted. Shock. Well. That didn't really fit our feelings, either. More like disgusted. Crying shame.
The collection of rusted junk had grown. What we could see above the tall, brown grass.
The beautiful fernery had disappeared. No potted plants that once produced a cooling oasis. A place of peace. Serenity. High clumps of brown, crackling grass covered the dry ground. Faded gnomes peeked out from behind the clumps creating suspense. Crying out for a time long past when they were loved.
A tumbling down house stood there where once there stood a loved home. The building had become a place where man, and dogs, slept. Ate.
The kitchen was a germ infested place. Dirty dishes fought for space on the table. And the sink. Dust lay thick on every surface. Grit crunched beneath our shoes.
We spent ages cleaning the dirty dishes. And the table. Before we produced our food to the kitchen. The dog used to being allowed full reign of the kitchen. And the rest of the house. Tried to reach the kitchen to gain tit-bits of great smelling food. They were banned.
The rest of the rooms were covered with dust.
I thanked all the fates for protecting me from the squalor of germs. Stopped them from invading my body.


                               Riddled with white ants

It's a wonder.
How hasn't the house crumbled to dust.
Blown to pieces by the strong, cyclonic winds.
To my way of reasoning. The building should have been condemned years ago.
Declared a pest infestation area.
A miracle the frame stood in tact.
I'd be worried if I owned a new home within cooee of the house.
The outer walls have been eaten away by white ants. House stumps have shrunk with age leaving a space between the stump top, and the foundation for the floor. Some of them were still in contact. Wooden chocks have been shoved into the empty space to balance the floor.
The front steps are dangerous. Some are missing. You walk up them at your own peril. Back steps looked safe. Enough. But I didn't tempt the fates. I stayed at ground level.
Certain parts of the lawn were mown. The rest covered with parts of no longer working lawn mowers. Beneath the high house were bits, and pieces, of different machinery. Don't think anything has been thrown away for the past forty years.
The junk is probably holding the house in place. Or the tall shrubs are cutting out the force of the winds.
I wouldn't park my car beneath the house. I don't know how the owner fitted his car in the small space.
I stood close to the edge to make a quick retreat at the first cracking noise.
How he lives there is a mystery. He's nearing the age of ninety. His memory isn't what it should be.
He doesn't do much. Did the mowing. His washing. I believe he cooked. Or he may buy food ready to eat.
Watches television. And listens to the radio. Don't know how much house work because I didn't enter the house. What I heard he didn't do much.
Not one piece of the house would be worth saving. Even the furniture in the house is probably riddled with white ants.
If he doesn't die of natural causes. The house might take its first victim. Murdered by house. Or would it be. White ants. Bed fell through the floor while he slept. Watching television. The walls collapsed around him. Then. There might be a fire caused by old wires bared. Pulled away from switches when the wood has been eaten away. I hope none of these thing happen to him. Let death be natural.
If he'd had the house treated before the house was infested. The building may have been saved for many years.
When he finally passes. The house will have to be bulldozed to the ground. Every part taken to the dump. Or used for fire practice so not to spread the the infestation to other parts of the town.
Long may it stand until the final closing of his eyes.
Moving from their would shorten his life. Home life wouldn't be his forte. He'd chuck in his bundle. Die.

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