Today’s prompt asks us to go down memory lane.
It was on a Sunday afternoon, late in the summer of 2009, that we took the trip into the countryside. With no real destination in sight, we decided to just go wherever the road took us. Just as we thought that there were nothing to be seen here, we saw the sign
I immediately wanted to protest. Rummaging through someone else’s rubbish is just not my idea of fun. Give me a lake and tree under which I can watch the sun set – that’s what I had in mind when we set off! I knew, however, that no amount of complaining could stop Jacques from pulling into the driveway. I resigned myself to the fact and grudgingly got out of the car.
We were met by a tight-lipped young lawyer, obviously not happy with the way his Sunday was being spent either. “All items are for same as per the prices indicated. This is an Estate sale and no negotiations will be entered into. All payments are to do be done by means of cash or money transfer, for which we have set up facilities in the dining room. Nothing may be removed prior to complete payment being made.” With that he turned on his heels and continued talking on the cellphone. We looked at each other and shrugged, not very inviting then?! Jacques took to his normal routine while I aimlessly walked around.
I found myself at the door to the barn; it was slightly ajar, barely hanging on the hinges. Curiosity got the better of me and I stepped inside. It was considerably darker inside as the windows had been closed up, thin rays of sunshine crept through the cracks in the board. My footfall dampened by the thick layer of hay and dust. Old air assaulted my nostrils, made me sneeze. For some reason, I couldn’t leave and walked deeper into the bar. Five paces later, I saw something which gave me the first sense of excitement since we arrived.
Books and books covered the entire wall, all the way to the top! This was heaven! I walked over and gingerly started to clean away cobwebs. There were books dating back from before I was born, leather backs and old thick pages. I was too afraid to disturb them and walked down the wall, gently stroking the backs of books I passed. I fetched the ladder I had seen outside the door to discover the books higher up. Precariously balancing on the unstable ladder I found Shakespeare! Every single play written. I simply had to see more! As I took out Hamlet, the ladder gave way and I ended face down in front of the bookshelf. My fall somewhat softened by the hay, dust swirling around my head. I just lay there, waiting for the pain of broken bones to start screaming at my senses, but it didn’t come. Instead, my eyes caught sight of a book that I would never have noticed. I just about jumped up and grabbed the book. I could not believe my eyes and had to shake my head to be sure!
I grabbed it and ran out of the barn, I had to find sunlight, I had to be sure! With trepidation I opened the brass buckles and opened the cover. I closed my eyes, it was too much, what if it was not really the one!? With one eye open I took a peek at the book and shrieked in joy! It was the old Family Bible, the one that’s been in the family since the late 1800’s! After my grandfather passed away it was taken by a family member. None of us knew who took it and it was quite frankly something that did not really seem to bother anyone much. For me it was important though. I used to sit by his knee at night when he would read the evening scripture. I used to love listening to the sound of his voice and the gentle sound of the thin pages as he turned them over. I used to look at the names which appeared in the family tree and wonder about what they looked like and how they lived. It was our Family Bible, I found it!
I ran up to Jacques just as he and the lawyer concluded their transaction, the trunk of the car stuffed with who knows what.
“How much for this?” I asked.
“That’s not for sale ma’am. Where did you find it?” the you lawyer asked.
“I found it in the barn, at the back. Please, I have to have it! It is my old Family Bible and I have to have it back. Please sir, I will pay anything!” I pleaded.
He looked at me, very puzzled. “What do you mean it’s your Family Bible? The lady of the house was the last in a long line of descendants and her will determined that everything should go to charity as she knew of no family members”.
Not grasping the important of his words I opened the Bible “There, G C Erasmus, that is my grandfather, he passed away in 1985, and the Bible went missing after that. Please, I have to have it back!”
“May I see some identification?”
He took my Identity Book and disappeared into the makeshift office. After 5 minutes he came out.
“Ma’am, there would of course need to be DNA Testing to confirm, but it would appear that you now own this land. If indeed you are who you claim to be, you are the sole heir to the estate. My offices will be in contact with you. In the interim, feel free to take the book with you”