My Hometown in 500 Words: Madison, North Carolina

First assignment (final revision, 11/9/15): Give a hometown narrative in 500 words.

At the top of Hanging Rock, 30 minutes from Madison.

At the top of Hanging Rock, 30 minutes from Madison.

My Hometown in 500 Words: Madison, NC

A dead deer lies on the side of the North Carolina road. A year-long of traveling separates me from the airport and Madison, my hometown. As always, I feel myself slipping into a mild trance. Time moves slowly here. I enter a past of when things were simple and no one was in a rush. I open the car windows and breathe in the scent of honeysuckle. The rickety barn at the end of the long gravel road to my right is still standing. Barrels of hay, lie in the seemingly endless fields. And that old, unchained dog still sits on a peeling porch. Several minutes pass by before a car is behind me. They ease past me without hitting their horn.

As I get closer to Madison, activity slightly stirs. Everyone who I’ve grown up with, seem to be present at the town’s only shopping center, Wal-Mart. The cheapest gas rates would be found here. As I get out to pay the attendant, it’s common knowledge for me to smile and nod to the unfamiliar African-American two cars down. Surely she’s attended my baptism, is a friend of a friend of my grandmother, or has chaperoned a long-forgotten elementary school trip. “Aren’t you so-and-so’s daughter? I remember you when you were a little thang. Look at ya’ all grown!” she says with a lazy Southern accent. Conversations are never short and sweet. I give my update on how every member of the family is doing, where I’ve been, and where I’m going.

Nearing my old house, I drive under the old, stone bridge. The passage always holds a puddle, which questions its foundation. Low and narrow, it was likely built during the same era as the colonial house that neighbors it.Dalton-St

Turn right and you are on our old street, a steep road that we dared to ride our bikes down as children. I smile as I reminisce. Parents had absolutely no idea where to find us. From the finish of our Saturday chores until the signaling of streetlights, we would play “Hide and Seek” near sewers, through woods, and across train tracks. We acquired an impressive collection of cicada shells and lightning bugs. Someone would then receive a “triple double dog dare” to turn the glowing bums into earrings.

Today, though, there’s an unearthly silence, with not one child in sight.. perhaps glued to a TV screen or the over-protective eyes of a parent. The tree house that we attempted countless times to create now stands professionally built by grown-up hands.

Manicured hills that held my old house on its peak, have now been overtaken by forest. My old residence was once named best-kept houses in Madison. It was postcard worthy. However, “It’s a money-pit”, they say. With the constant change of owners, its appearance has fallen into the same lazy rut.

I finally reach my destination, my mother’s new apartment. After the elation of reconnecting with the family, I close myself in a guest bedroom filled with generic decor. The pace has slowed, but time did not stand still here. I lie in bed and realize that the Madison that I remember is long past gone. But then I hear it… the chorus of cicadas outside of my window, a familiar lullaby.

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