Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Don C. Merchanthouse

My story begins with a man named Mr. Don C. Merchanthouse. 

I don't remember much of the man; he rarely came to our Greens Fork homestead. 

I do remember that when Merchanthouse came to our home, he showed up unexpectedly. Dad would usually take him for a walk around the yard and Momma and us three kids would play 52 (more like 5,200) pick-up around our lived-in house. Momma wanted it "spotless - and  fast!!" 

We were little soldiers around Mr. Don C. Merchanthouse.

Ironically, Mr. Don C. Merchanthouse used to live outside Greens Fork, Indiana, also. Two miles south of town, to be exact. He raised his family in one of the old Hoover Mill homesteads. Jesse Hoover's place, to again be precise. 

He was known as the "Bard of Washington Road" - the man who told the story of the land and the people. I'd love to talk to him now and have the opportunity to ask him so many questions about living in this area decades ago. 

But I can't. 

While Mr. Don C. Merchanthouse is still around the Greens Fork area, he died many years ago. His ashes are spread around our homestead. 

You see, Mr. Don C. Merchanthouse was the man who sold his home  - the one he raised his family in - to a young couple in 1978. 

That young couple went on to raise three children there. 

And I am the youngest of the three. 

Before he passed, Merchanthouse wrote a book. Within the pages of the book is a poem entitled, This Old House, written about the house the built me. 

Until next week, enjoy words from the man who sold us his home 
and without even knowing, helped me write my own life story. 

This Old House
Don C. Merchanthouse

I wander through these spacious rooms 
And wipe away a tear, 
For all the memories I have
Have taken place right here. 

To this old house I brought my bride
Of young and tender years, 
A strong young son and then a girl,
To grace our later years. 

The nights we spent in quiet bliss,
The days so warm and bright.
These walls were witness to our love, 
And held our secrets tight. 

We never changed its decor much, 
Or altered its proud face, 
For modern hardware never fit, 
And seemed so out of place. 

Through bitter storms and darkest nights
It kept us warm and dry, 
Although it creaked and groaned and moaned
As though it meant to die. 

The timbers for its mighty frame
Were grown on native soil.
Were cut and hewed and fitted tight
By local men of toil. 

They must have had an artist's eye
And love for tedious work, 
For harmony is everywhere
And nothing did they shirk. 

The walnut in the window sills, 
Bright poplar in the floors.
The wind still howls in stifled rage
Against the oaken doors. 

This place has stood a hundred years, 
A landmark proud and tall.
And it will be a part of us
Till we're beyond recall.

And now to put it on the block
Seems like an unjust fate,
But this old house just sits and smiles
It seems content to wait. 

Of course, the story doesn't end here. Come back next week for more - 

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