Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


Porch Tale    


Ordinary Days

by Pam Gurule

It was just an ordinary Sunday. Sundays are often so ordinary that they both scare
and bore me. Ordinary days leave you with too much time on your hands. They allow
buried thoughts to waft back up into the conscience.

I sat on my front porch, idly rocking. Slowly, and with no purpose of motion. I am alone. I took no heed of the signs that forewarn of escaping memories. It is an autumn day. A cold front had sneaked in like a two-minute warning. Winter is coming it breathed in sighs carried on the wisps of air. Still I rocked. But they are here. I could feel them.

It always starts this way. That first sudden change in the air. Change, change can mean hope. It causes me to drift off down dusty back roads of memory. Childhood. My childhood, where dust is plentiful and money is scarce. Where hope rides on the innocence of children.

We lived in a small wooden house at the end of a road that, stretch as it might, the tar could not reach us. My brothers and I, and several dogs, strays who liked kids, didn't mind the dirt. But my Mother did.  When you don't pay taxes your life starts where the pavement ends.

She was born of an era that said women would keep the home fires going. It's just hard to do when the kindling is in sight but out of reach. While my Dad worked long and hard for our daily bread, she prayed for our souls, or perhaps deliverance. Prayer is the only hope the poor have of over coming their birthright.

She did a lot of soul searching. You have to dig deep and reach back far into your life to seek the reasons hope might have turned into sins.  She wore her sadness as if it could grant her some forgiveness. It often ran over her like slow running molasses. Thick and impenetrable.

She stayed the course as prosperity came to those around us. Still she prayed. Convinced through the years that something she had done had brought her to this fate. Her youth spent raising children. Children happy to run wild and oblivious, for a time, of how the poor should feel.  But she could not retreat into oblivion.

Eventually the dust settled and enough tar was found to finish the road. And that road took us, her children away. Now all the roads are paved and no one has to look back on the days of dust and struggle, unless there is a sudden change in the air, like today. I guess the rich soul search too. They just don't have as far to go.

Pam Gurule is a native of South Carolina. She has loved to "tell stories" since early childhood. In grammar school, she told after lunch stories while the class rested a bit. Making them up as she went along. Today, Pam continues to tell stories. Her inspiration comes from living in South Carolina with her two sons, one daughter and one granddaughter. She has worked for Ma Bell for 35 years and now is on the Headquarters Staff.

2004, Pam Gurule, All Rights Reserved