Friday, July 30, 2010
Doug and one of Mom's many cats,
in front of "The Cave", 1967. (And the brick
path I built to the outhouse when I was 12.)
Besides all of the buildings on the farm, there was one other place of importance. We called it "The Cave". More appropriately, it was a root cellar located between the house and wash house.
The cave was where we took shelter when there was a storm. I can't even count the number of nights we were awakened to "go to the cave!" because there were threatening clouds rolling in.
We would be down in the cave with a flashlight if we were lucky, but usually in the dark. Dad would be standing on the steps holding the cellar door half open, half closed watching the clouds. I remember one time a big limb came crashing down out of the Chinese Elm tree. He got the door closed just in time to keep from being hit. That same thing happened during a storm up at the Roberts'. Uncle Howard did get hit and hurt by a limb falling on their cave while he was watching a storm.
"The Cave" was also where Mom stored all fruits and vegetables she canned during the summer. Row upon row of good things to eat in pint and quart jars were lined up on shelves. Bushel baskets held potatoes and carrots dug from the garden in the fall and apples and pears from Grandpa and Grandma Ridnour's orchard.
I remember when there were jars of grape juice Mom had made from grapes from Reichardt's grape arbor. Betty and I sneaked out of the house one night to get a jar of grape juice to drink with crackers we had spirited away to our room. We called ourselves, "The Midnight Marauders" and believed we were so furtive.
The wall of our cave extended out like wings to the east and west of the cement top. I remember that flat bit of cement being my "stage" where I performed my songs and dances. I would face west so I could watch my performance reflected in the windows of the porch. Then I would walk out first one wing and then the other, bowing to my audiences. We never took dance lessons, but the little neighbor girls, Cathy and Debbie Olive, did. We went to one of their recitals. I observed carefully and then came home to do my own tap dance on the 'stage' of the cave.
Katrina and Alyssa in front of "The Cave".
The cellar door was also a favourite place to play for Mom's grand kids and great-grandchildren. They would slide down the door, roll their cars down it, even ride tricycles down the incline and out into the yard.
It kept us safe. It provided hours of entertainment for generations. Its constant temperature safely stored provisions for our table. "The Cave" is another part of our past we remember fondly.