I was one lucky kid, living in the rural Pennsylvania mountains. I saw both sets of my grandparents on a regular basis but we lived in a trailer at the end of my maternal grandparent's lane so I saw them almost daily. They had a farm, where my Pap raised cows, and had a few horses. Always chickens and ducks and I still remember being dropped off early every summer morning so my mom could go to work and helping grandma carry water and feed up to the tiny chirping peeps and feeding the ducks.
Their farmhouse was built in the 1800s and my Pap put a lot of his artistic talent into it, facing the fireplace and the front porch with stone he had gathered from all over, I'm sure. I remember the sound of his black metal lunch bucket being packed and Grandma giving him a kiss each time he left for work. I remember him returning home and sometimes sitting for the evening meal listening to the thoughts he chose to share. I also had many aunts and uncles, the youngest more my sibling than my aunt.
I learned a lot from my many hours, days, and years there. From feeding peeps to shelling peas, washing windows to running a kitchen. I also learned a springhouse was a fine place to store apples picked from the orchard trees for the winter.
The Springhouse was a fun little building, dark and mysterious on the inside, always a little damp. A creepy deep well at the front had nothing more than a wooden grate over it to keep us kids from falling in. Starring into the deep with the light dancing on the bottom just enough to show it was there fascinated me. The small pool on the opposite end served as a great swimming hole for dolls for many years. The water out of the metal cup that hung on a nail at the front corner was so delicious and perfectly cold.
I didn't spend so much time there as I got older. Still visited a lot and would house sit after we lost my grandfather and Grandma went on trips. That house inspired many stories and even found itself as the basis for the house in my first published novel.
It was sometime in my later teen years that I was gifted some oil paints. When my grandma handed me a photo of the springhouse in winter, one she had taken, and asked me to make it an oil painting, I really wasn't sure I could. But she was. She commissioned me to make two painting from two different angles. The picture here is of one of those paintings. I really had very little idea what I was doing with the paint back then, but I had her faith that I could and my stubborn determination.
The painting of the little springhouse now hangs in my home, a reminder of happy times and to never stop improving my talent. I'm a good bit older now, with a lot more experience and skill, but the above will always be one of my favorite pieces.