Last year I was returning from Anniston and stopped at the small community of Eastaboga, Alabama located just off of I20. Eastaboga lies on the border of Talladega and Calhoun counties, about 50 miles east of Birmingham. While in the area I ran across this ole house.
The ole house appears quite differently unprocessed.
When I first saw the place it brought back memories of an old song that I remembered hearing on my parent’s radio as a child. The song This Ole House was written by Stuart Hamblen and sung by Rosemary Clooney among many others.
The story behind the song as I recall was very interesting. Hamblen and his friend John Wayne were out hunting when they came upon this old house. They saw an open door and discovered a body of an old man lying inside. It was determined that the old man had died of natural causes. Stuart went home and penned the words of This Ole House written from the point of view of the old man.
This ole house once knew my children. This ole house once knew my wife. This ole house was home and comfort as we fought the storms of life. This ole house once rang with laughter. This ole house heard many shouts. Now she trembles in the darkness, when the lightnin’ walks about.
This ole house is a-gettin’ shaky. This ole house is a-gettin’ old. This ole house lets in the rain. This ole house lets in the cold. On my knees I’m gettin’ chilly. But I feel no fear or pain. ‘Cause I see an angel peekin’, through a broken window pane.
Now this ole house is afraid of thunder. This ole house is afraid of storms. This ole house just groans and trembles, when the night wind flings its arms. This ole house is a-gettin’ feeble. This ole house is a-needin’ paint. Just like me it’s tuckered out, but I’m a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints.
And my old hound dog lies a sleepin’. He don’t know I’m gonna leave. Else he’d wake up by the fire place and he’d sit down, howl and grieve. But my huntin’ days are over, ain’t gonna hunt the coon no more. Gabriel done brought in my chariot, when the wind blew down the door.
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer. Ain’t a-gonna need this house no more. Ain’t got time to fix the shingles. Ain’t got time to fix the floor. Ain’t got time to oil the hinges. Nor to mend no window pane. Ain’t gonna need this house no longer, I’m a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints.
As Halloween approached that year I happened to begin playing with the picture and came up with an entirely different image and mood. I put a touch of yellow “light” in the window and called it “We’ll leave the light on for you” after those Motel 6 commercials. So as Halloween approaches again this year, I thought that I would bring it out.
— I’m going to be out of town for a few days so I’ll catch up with you all when I return.