Jones was taken aback when Hiram asked him about the light. He said “yes, I’ve seen the light.” Hiram looked down and nodded like he understood but said nothing. “What do you know about the light?” asked Jones. Hiram didn’t answer and again, Jones didn’t know if it was intentional or just lack of hearing.
Little things didn’t bother Jones. Non answers to questions and pleads of ignorance rolled off his back like water in the shower but he continued. “I’ve noticed something else about the property.” Hiram looked up and said “I reckon you’re going to notice quite a few things about the property before long.”
Jones was curious and wanted to know more but Hiram was tight-lipped when it came to offering information. Jones was patient, though and wondered if Hiram had more of a connection to the property than he was letting on.
Jones decided to just start talking. He said “when I first moved into the grand lady, I walked the property daily. The strangest thing happened and I mean it happened every day.”
Hiram with a glint in his old, yellowing, cataract-filled eyes, said “like what?”
Jones said “when I walk under the trees, it always starts raining…you know, just a few drops but enough to notice and as soon as I walk out from under them, it stops.”
Hiram said “ah. You’re walking under the weeping trees.”
Jones said “they’re not Weeping Willows.” Hiram quickly retorted “I know. They’re called the weeping trees.”
Jones sort of chuckled when he echoed “the weeping trees, huh?” He could tell that Hiram wasn’t joking. He was serious. That kind of sad serious coupled with angst.
Jones asked “can you tell me about them?” Hiram looked out the window as if in some kind of trance and answered with a soft “no.”
Jones pulled a “Hiram” and changed the subject. “Is there a hall of records or anything like that in town where I might find some information about the house?”
Hiram said “ah, you’re talking about City Hall. Yep, it’s here but you won’t find anything. The original building burned down might near 50 years ago. Everything in it was lost and most of the old timers who lived around here have long since gone back to seed or moved away. These young whippersnappers don’t care much about the past. All they care about it is the present and their future, how much money they can make and who they can impress.”
“Well,” said Jones. “I’d just like to have a few names. There might be some ancestors around who would know something. I know the name of the doctor who lived here before but he didn’t even live in this state. He just owned the house and he didn’t really care about it.”
Hiram nodded and said “I believe I said those very words to you.” Jones said “and what about the original owners? Do you know who they were? Do you know the name of the funeral parlor?” Again, his questions were met with silence.
Jones could sense that the conversation for the day was at an end and stood up. He walked over to Hiram and extended his hand. He smiled and said “I never did get your former profession.”
Once again, Hiram acted like he couldn’t hear him and said “walk on down here any time you want to take a break. I reckon you have a lot of work ahead of you and you’ll be needing to rest a spell now and then.”
“I’ll do it,” said Jones. His thoughts were racing. There was something so common yet so mysterious about this old man. Secrets and sorrow seemed to surround him. He was not forthcoming, yet he was welcoming. He was paradoxical, intriguing and Jones knew he had stories to tell. Would he ever be able to hear them?
As he walked out of the door, he hesitated for a second. Something had caught his eye. On a table in the corner, Jones saw a pink silk ribbon.
To be continued__________________________