Original artwork for a small town community calendar.
The Doll House
A little place
once so quiet and free we would camp near the creek in the middle of town
laired by oaks and madrones, carpeted with moss,
our presence unnoticed with our backpacks, tin cups, a copy of Whitman, tiny boxes of Raisin Bran, and a jar of raw milk from the Ridgewood Ranch where the legendary Seabiscuit is buried in a secret location.
In fresh-aired splendor with hiking boots removed, socks washed in the stream, that’s how country
and serene the redwood groves of tenderness
preempted my forever great love of roaming wilderness places.
The suspendered proprietor of the old Owl Market
would play the organ on the south side of the building
when customers were few.
He didn’t seem to mind the restless types coming from
the Bay Area, reveling us with his
simple tunes such as
“Oh my darlin’
Oh my darlin’
Oh my darling’ Clementine,” his face gleaming with endless songs and Westerns.
He is gone and lost forever,
yet alive in my balmy folder of impressions.
Along with landmark buildings like the Far Far West Museum,
the bakery, the Grange Hall
and the ice cream parlor run by a set of triplets,
gray- haired ladies with checkered dresses and matching aprons
who served creamy, thick and heavenly malted shakes,
grilled cheese sandwiches on Wonder Bread.
Then there is The Doll House
a village Victorian treasure.
It still bolsters my sentimental April heart,
The owner made dandelion wine to sip and share
with the- once-in-a-while B & B guests
among staged settings of her vintage doll collection, quaint, almost stilted
in gabled rooms.
Dentils, dormers and cornices
beg for historic redemption
amidst the baskets and arrowheads of Pomo lore.
Don’t let them ever tear the building down.
Once in a while I feel a simpering comment coming on
in the wake of a remembered conversation.
“Don’t take my sunshine away.”
Stairs at the Mendocino Hotel
Journal prompt: Write about your favorite historic buildings. Describe how the buildings affect you-past or present.
Copyright © 2014 poetry, art, and photography by Susan E. Rowland