The Buried House — A free short story, also available at Amazon.

I first wrote The Buried House a few years ago when I saw a local house gradually sinking into the ground. Eventually, a yellow bulldozer razed the house, and it no longer exists. I hope you will enjoy my reprint. It is also available for electronic readers at Amazon.

The Buried House
By: Stephanie L. Robertson

They buried a house today.

I saw it happen. They took a big, noisy tractor with a long arm and clumsy hand which tore at the roof.

Timbers of the old rafters cracked as they split, broke right in two. The loud machine puttered into the front room where children played and families received guests. Glass, mottled with decades of grime and dirt, shattered into long slivers, breaking up and falling down. Each spindle on the porch broke one by one, cracking like match sticks. The family used to sit out on that porch and watch people walk down that old dirt road. The one that ran from east to west in front of the house.

Children walked that road to the old school, a mile away. Mules and horses left their tracks in the dust. Wagons ambled through on the way to town. Then cars came. Then one day it was paved. And then one day they made it a two-lane with speed limits to slow those fast-moving cars, zipping between the two towns.

The yellow machine puttered and rumbled on. Planks split from the walls and fell to the ground like strips of paper. An entire wall came down with a crash and the sound of tinkling glass.

For years—yes, for decades—the house has been sinking into the ground, all on its own. It sank right into the earth ‘til all one could see was the top third of the house—the top of the front door, the windows, and so forth.

I had sat in that front parlor, waiting for Danny to come for me. Irene was playing our old upright piano. She so looked forward to her own parties and high school banquet days. Days of chiffon and carnations. She was playing some familiar tune such as The Tennessee Waltz. Whatever was popular. Some of the keys stuck down, but she played on.

Mother dried her hands on her apron and pointed to my room—mine and Irene’s. I was to go there to wait for Danny. It was not proper for a young lady to look too anxious, when waiting for her gentleman. Let him wait for you. Never mind that he had met Father three dates ago. Go on, now. Wait in there.

My ears strained for the sound of his daddy’s old Plymouth. A door slammed. Heavy footsteps on the porch and a loud banging on our door. Angry voices from the next room. Not Danny; why was my old beau, Ben, here? I thought my father had thoroughly explained to him to not come around anymore. I rubbed invisible bruises on my arms and shivered at the memory but then ran out of my room when I heard shots fired. He was there. A crazed look in his pale eyes. My father was down. Irene no longer played her waltz. And where was Mother?

“If I can’t have you, no one will!” he screamed at me and fired that final shot which pierced my heart.

I never found out what happened to my family.

And you can’t sell a house that has been stained by blood. They can clean it and scrub it ‘til there’s no trace of the crimson, but they can’t get it out of the house. Really, they can’t. They tried. Oh, yes, they tried. But the house was tainted, and no one would buy it.

The machine’s hand grasped the chimney and let it go. Bricks tumbled over the ground like a child’s toy blocks. The roof gave way. The machine’s giant arm pushed the end wall, and the house was finally in its grave.

Dust filled my nose with filth and decay.

Why did they bury the house? For sixty years, it has set there, not bothering anyone. They could have left it to sink on into the ground on its own. ‘Til no one could see it. ‘Til it sank beneath that red clay all on its own. It would have buried itself, I know.

They buried a house today.

It’s my house.

I have lived here for years.

And I will live here forever.

What a Blue Cross and a Gray Stone Taught Me about Peace

Liberty Hill Church

Way back when I was a girl growing up in rural Alabama, I used to visit Papa and Grandmother Lindsey’s house a lot. They lived just through the cow pasture and up the hill from us–an easy walk.

Invariably, Papa would be on the phone, hashing it out with his insurance–Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Medicare or whomever–about a medical expense of some type. Other times, he struggled getting his riding mower to crank. Anything like that.

I think about this often because, you see, Papa died in 1993 or so. Whenever Lefty and I go through some trial or another like a broken refrigerator or a dying car, I think about Papa.

Papa is somewhere that he never has to worry about Blue Cross or broken vehicles again. I’m not sure if I’m making sense or not here, but that brings me a measure of peace. Not that I’m discounting anything that we go through during this life on earth. (At church yesterday, we did a lot of praying for people in south Texas facing the hurricane and flooding problems.)

I’m just saying that this puts it in perspective for me. And we don’t have to wait until the Afterlife to have that peace. We can take a deep breath and remember that problems like broken alternators won’t be problems forever.

For some (strange??) reason, I get the same sense of peace when I look at the grey tombstones in cemeteries. It’s all going to be okay.

Aunt Mattie and Uncle Bill’s tombstones.

By the way, the tombstone in the photo is for Aunt Mattie and Uncle Bill, two wonderful people who are buried in a little, rural cemetery outside of the little hamlet of Hackleburg, Alabama. I used to spend summers with my north Alabama grands, who lived on a big, shared family farm with Uncle Bill and Aunt Mattie. I look forward to seeing them again one day, too.<

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”


Peaceful little cemetery.

Sweetgum Life Featured on 3 Questions Wednesday Today — What an Honor!

If you’re wanting to learn some of the ins-and-outs of the writing life, I’d suggest you venture over to Writing Prompts and Thoughts and Ideas…Oh my!

The site offers suggestions about how to get started, organized, and inspired to write that novel or short story that you’ve been aching to write for the past few years.

Their core group of experienced writers (Jennifer Hallmark, Betty Thomason Owens, Tammy Trail, Betty Boyd, Karen Jurgens, Harriet E. Michael, Carlton Hughes, and Gail Johnson) share book reviews, inspirational thoughts, brief descriptions of their own novels, and more.

Today, I had the opportunity to be featured on 3 Questions Wednesday.

I hope you’ll trot on over to the site and check it out!


Total Eclipse of 2017

Have you got your little ISO-certified glasses ready?

We have, and we’re counting down the hours to the eclipse!

We’ve heard Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and plan to play it on our cd. (We still have it!)

Princess Buttercup’s school is doing half-days, allowing her to opt-out altogether with an excused absence. This is science, y’all, and Huntsville is all about science/STEM!

I’ve heard from several sources that hotels north of us, especially in Nashville, are booked solid. There are other places we can go, but we don’t want to get bogged down in eclipse traffic and view the thing from some rural road in the August heat.

What are you doing for the big eclipse?