October Reflections

Photo of road to Mulberry Hill

Mulberry Hill

As I was walking this morning on my favorite path, I felt like it is fall of the year at last. It is a time for renewal and also a time for memories. As I passed near the place which used to be called Mulberry Hill, I slowed and so wished I could get through the padlocked gate to climb the incline leading up to the place where my mother’s family home stood. It’s where she and my father met. Her family hadn’t lived there long, but she had heard of Charley Blackburn –- a confirmed bachelor. It was rumored that he had left a trail of broken hearts behind him. One summer day, he came strolling down the road with friends with whom my mother was familiar. They climbed the hill and greeted Mary. She noticed the tall rather sullen man seated beside her friends on the front porch hadn’t spoken. He was introduced, but merely nodded.“Charley, Mary has a piano. Go play us a tune.” He declined but Mother said he was afraid to. With that, he got up and with the others following, walked into the living room, sat down at her piano and began to play an old tune, “My Darling Nellie Gray.” It was a very familiar fiddle tune usually played at a fast danceable pace. Surprisingly, he began it slowly and began to sing. Mary was astonished. She realized he was so different from the rollicking crowd she went to dances with.

“I’m going to marry that man,” she thought. And she did. In late September that year. If I could climb that hill this many years later, I’d carefully look around at that deserted area, no house there now, and try hard to find some small piece of stone or timber that had once formed the foundation, or an old jelly jar which perhaps had graced the breakfast table.

Such are the ruminations the fall of the year. I finished my walk glad that now, in the late fall of my life, I live this close to Mulberry Hill.