When Dad was sent to Vietnam, Mom and I moved back into her bedroom. I spent many hours peering between the spindles, wondering at the adult conversation and TV below. The tween-aged Talon and I walked the dog to the 7-11 and bought Slurpees and Now-and-Laters. I tried to remove my father from his picture frame prison.
The living room stretched across the front of the house, the white French Provincial sectional and marble-topped tables arranged to take maximum advantage of the light filtering through the sheers on the large windows. I was allowed in there to play the piano, a black enamel Wurlitzer upright, and if I paused long enough to peer at the porcelain carriages with their tiny teams of horses, Granny whirled in and whisked me back into the family room. No damage done, and she wanted to keep it that way.
They started building the house in Mabelvale when I was eight. The white sofa moved into the front half of the stylish great room, the piano into a specially-built closet in Talon's room. A decade passed. Aunt Dainy died, and her organ came to Granny's house, to the corner where the Christmas tree always stood.
And the cycle continues. When we go to visit, the sectional is carefully covered with sheets and quilts. And the kids tiptoe up to the front, click the organ to its quietest setting, and play.