This time of year is perfection, weather-wise anyway. I love getting outside — just being there — never knowing where the day is going to take me. This after I make the hour-long round trip to Abby’s daycare, of course.
Yesterday morning, as I was closing in on home, I saw a friend of mine pulled up into his family’s home place, so I stopped and talked to him for a spell. I’m always learning about new things and new places to explore.
He told me about a couple of old gravesites in the woods behind his barn. There are many similar sites within close proximity, but I didn’t know this one existed. I was intrigued, so after doing a few morning chores, including washing dishes and clothes, feeding horses and chickens and helping my stepfather with a small fence, I took to the woods in search of the headstones.
Lewis and Clark I am not, but after a quick phone call for directions, I was able to find it with relative ease. I could read one of them. The wife was born in 1829.
When I find these places, I have so many questions, such as what did they do for a living? How did they die? Why did the armadillo tunnel a hole under the man’s grave? So many questions…
After that, I took a stroll through the unknown. Although I have literally driven past there thousands of times, I’d never gallivanted through the woods. There’s just so much beauty in these parts.
Since we are along the Tallapoosa River in Northern Tallapoosa County, there are creeks and streams at the base of every hill, and there are lots of hills. I walked hoping to find an old home place with a trash pile or two. I love finding old bottles there or along the way.
As they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, especially if the junk is from 100 years ago. An old brown medicine bottle isn’t worth anything to anybody, but the joy in me finding them is priceless.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything other than the majestic beauty of the southern tip of the Appalachian foothills, but fortunately, that was enough for me.
Lucy called as I was trying to make my way back to the car. She’d pulled over at a vacant home we’ve been passing by for years. There were people there, and they had a bunch of old stuff. We love old stuff!
No one had lived in the house for more than 50 years. It was an amazing home. It’s one of those that didn’t look that big from the outside but was surprisingly large on the inside.
Lucy did a little wheeling and dealing with the gentleman, so I was there to help move things. There was a very old washstand in the bathroom. Lucy was having a good time going through it until she went face to face with a monster rat, before she took off outside. It was actually a cute little mouse, but that didn’t matter.
The man was selling the house. It belonged to his great-grandfather. Now he was likely a great-grandfather himself, so the house has been around for a while. The buyer has promised — I believe legally — that he will maintain the house as is instead of selling it as commercial property. That made my heart happy. I hate seeing old homes and business torn down for cheaply made, modern junk.
He had two fine gentlemen helping him work. They helped us move a few things, too. At one point, I commented on how much I liked the old refrigerator. I was blown away at his kindness. I was in no way asking for it. I simply commented on how much I liked them.
A friend of mine came over to help me move it, and it’s now sitting in my garage in Opelika. But first, we had to load it up.
We waited on the old man and the guys to move the truck so we could get closer to the porch to move the refrigerator. That thing was heavier than an anchor for a cruise ship.
The man was sitting in his truck apparently counting out money to pay his two helpers. One of the guys had left the keys in the ignition and that sound was annoying the old man, so he took them out and put them on the seat. My buddy was getting antsy. This was taking forever. I even had time to go get Abby.
When I got back, I walked over to check on the situation, and the truck keys were missing. Also missing, was $60 in cash. Lucy came to get Abby while we spent an hour trying to find the money and the keys. We even brought up the idea of a ghost taking it. Seriously. Everyone was on board with that as being a real possibility.
Finally, one of the guys said he had to go. He did tell them to call him if they didn’t find the keys and he’d take them home.
A few seconds later, he returned and asked me to call his phone. It was missing, too! It was getting dark, and things were getting even spookier.
And that’s when it happened. When I made the phone call, we heard the phone ringing…in the old man’s pocket. He didn’t hear it. When he pulled out the phone, he also found the missing $60.
We all started to chuckle. I love old people. He then decided to go ahead and check his pockets for the keys, and there they were. I could tell he was a bit embarrassed, but that’s okay. I’m just glad they were found.
My buddy said something along the lines of that being “an hour of his time that he’ll never get back,” but he wasn’t mad. I thought it was funny. Oh, and I scored a few old bottles and jars, too.
All three guys were really nice. I guess the moral of the story is this: Be patient. We’re all going to be old one day…if we’re lucky. Well that and always check your pockets.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at email@example.com. For more information, visit www.jodyfuller.com.