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Donna Flood
That Old Lady

That old ladyStanding like a testament to another time the old weathered three story house was isolated and alone on what had once been a wheat field. At this time the farmer long ago vacated the house along with his endeavors. Slowly one by one the side buildings were lost to the estate until now starkness was made evident with its solitude. The structure was, of course, without paint which left it with a dark deep greyed patina on the wood siding. The gables were in good shape and spoke of the Victorian architecture common to a by gone era. For years it had set overgrown with brush and ragged trees.

Today as Millicent and her husband, Mick, walked past, the house was more alive in its appearance. Someone had cut out the rubble, cleaned leaves off the porch and generally made the house to look inhabited.

Mick commented on the way the house must have a new owner. "Has someone moved into the old place?" This man was always away from the neighborhood on his job so it was natural he had not noticed.

"There is a spry, elderly woman who lives here." "She looks very old, but she seems to fit quite well into the place." "I have not met her but I've watched her working." "She is very thin, and rather short in stature." "Pulling her white hair back in a bun makes her look to come from another time period."

"I even walked up one day to try to get her to the door." "She didn't answer but I was so surprised to see through the front glass door the striking change in the interior." "There are some very elegant, rich, large pieces of furniture there." "The objects look polished and are of rare heavy dark wood." "Across the table top's one can see striking white, embroidered doilies looking to have been just recently ironed." "I could even see one of the bedrooms." "In it was a huge dark poster bed with a beautiful white spread on it."

"Interesting!" Mick commented. "Let's see if we can rouse the old girl!"

The both stood at the front door feeling a little foolish and maybe like neighborhood kids wishing to have audience with something or someone in order to satisfy their curiosity. For their short wait they were rewarded with the old woman's appearance. Indeed she was tiny and seemed even more so in this space where every thing was of grandiose proportions.

"Smiling to the couple, she now spoke. "Won't you come in for a while?" "I have waited for some of my neighbors to come to call." Her sweet smile with the corners of her lips turned up gave her a little girl look. She swung the heavy door open for them as if she had done the same thing for guests many times before.

"I'm so anxious to show off some of the work I've been doing." She could have been a social butterfly with a steady strong personable way about her rather than the quiet aging woman she actually was. There was about her an aura of another time and another place and she could not cover that with the soft worn garments now resting on her still square setting shoulders.

As they were ushered from room to room and from floor to floor it was more than evident there was an active on going work in progress. Everything was of dull color, actually no color. The same gray patina of the outdoor wood was also indoors. Boards were of strong and sturdy appearance but they had long ago lost what would have been a color of paint. The floors too were rough from years of neglect. Still, and all there was a cleanliness about the place. Furniture was pulled into place and although the fabrics were of an ancient looking tapestry it seemed to be clean. Cleanliness had made the chairs and sofas livable and gave an interest to the rooms. Inn tables were polished and glowed with a shine to make them look new again. Too bad the fabrics couldn't be given this same new look. What now could be considered museum pieces and artifacts were in decoration on the bare walls. One could see no money was spent. Only the time and work of the elderly woman were making the place come alive.

They were in one of the top floor now just under what was the roof. There were buckets setting about where they were obviously being used to catch water from leaks in the roof.

In Millicent mind were all sorts of questions. She wanted to respect the by gone culture of this woman though and she would not ask out of honor to a set of established manners particular to her day and time. As to one of the questions all at once surfacing was, "how will this woman be able to repair a leaking roof?" If she had the where with all and the means, it surely was not evident by the way she was living.

No longer able to contain her curiosity any longer Millicent had to know and she asked. "Are you concerned about the rood leaking?"

The same look was upon the little woman face as had been when they first met her. She radiated a sudden glow from her countenance which was again marked by the slight upturning of her lips into a sweet smile.

"Oh no!" She replied. This isn't my worry anymore. In fact I have just sold the property. The money is now in my account. This old lady sold for 200,000 dollars. The folks who bought her are going to leave her like she is as a museum. They will, of course, take care of renovations and the roof at the same time. She will be a tremendous tourist attraction with all the history tied to the old place.

Millicent was very surprised, but still had questions? "Tell me, did this home belong to your family?"

"No, Oh no!" The sparkling eyes were willing to share. "I bought the old girl for 10,000 dollars. "It is my home though, I suppose, since they will need a tour guide and a salary will keep me here as a resident caretaker."

The couple left their new friend waving to them from the porch of her house. Mick and Millicent felt they had been gifted with an experience reaching back to the past and it was created and would be seen over and over again as folks walked through the old house on a guided tour hosted by this sprite of a little woman.

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