The Seven Directions / Story of a Childhood

The Seven Directions

As a child I lived in a bungalow

with my brother , mother and my father.

My father provided the house.

My mother sustained it ,

and made it a home .

We had many welcome guests,

and we all withdrew to the interior of that home

to safety and to a loving  warmth of family .

On the left side of the house was a funeral home.

On the right was a doctor’s office.

My father would often joke that if he ever became

ill he was all  set :

The doctor’s office to visit was just to the right

and if that failed the funeral home was a short trip to the left.

In the front of the house and across the road to the east

was the Church of the Nazarene .

Its’ doors opened and closed with adults

attending services

and children

attending Sunday school .

Late at night

in the silence of summer midnight,

my father  would sit in the front yard

facing the church and the road .

We would sit with him and listen.

He would sing in a single, sweet

and solemn voice

like a cantor.
His solitary song wafted gently

through the darkness alone.

The notes  floated upwards,

and bathed in moonlight
they sweetly  kissed the stars,

before rising up to heaven

At the back of the house, next to our yard

was George’s house and his yard ,

George went to work with his briefcase

every morning at the same time

and returned every evening

at the same time .

Every week George cut the grass in his back yard

with his  2 wheeled manual mower. He would garden .

The meditative whirring sound of the sharpened blades

back and forth was like a hard earned music every week ,

George’s lawn was beautifully immaculate and green.

He loved working it with rhythmic predictability .

His regular work kept it manicured

and prevented overgrowth and weeds .

In Greek his name meant ” worker of the Earth”.

And George worked the earth .

The doctor on the right worked to help and heal his patients.

George’s lot and the doctor’s lot bordered on each other

George’s lot was deep and long. The doctor’s lot was short.

Every morning I would get up and out of bed

and plant my feet on the earth .

In the morning as I walked out the door

I would see the church in front of me

and the sky above .

I thought of the funeral home on the left

and would look and check the time on a

large clock on the left

that was part of it .

As I walked  out further

I’d see the doctors house on the right

and George with his briefcase

coming around  the front

of the doctor’s house

to catch the bus.

I returned each afternoon from school at noon

and again in the evening to draw myself  inside

to the safety and warmth  of our home .

At night, one night in February, with a sigh,

my father passed away.

He passed away in his sleep unaware

that he was seriously ill.

His bedroom was a few scant feet

from the doctor’s office .

He never visited the doctor ‘s office,

though ,next to his room on the right .

He never visited the funeral home

to the left either.  Time passed.

The church across the street

continued receiving children

for Sunday school as it always did.

The sky remained above as it always did.

George continued working

and mowing his lawn

as he always did .

My brother and I

continued planting our feet on the ground

every day

and at the end of each day

we withdrew within to safety

in the seventh direction.

I often dream of that familiar house

which  my father provided

and  mother sustained .

From “Seeds of Self Fulfillment. Work of Love.”  by PWChaltas

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