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 Texas : Architecture : Courthouses - Memphis

Memories of the Hall County Courthouse
Page 2

by Wes Reeves
Page 1
(continued) Big wooden drawers are ready to be opened, revealing more paper to color, shred or whatever pleases me.

Not one thing bad about this place. Not one thing. I have no idea that someone upstairs may be going to jail. No one talks about the time when dark-skinned people couldnít drink out of the same water fountain I use. For me, nothing bad exists in this place.

I am bathed in pulses of light, smell and taste that exist only in this place. Iím also surrounded in love Ė all these old people keep patting my head and talking about weeds. I donít know what theyíre saying, but I feel safe here. I donít want to go home. I donít want to grow up. I donít want anyone to die.

The memories are only faded remains of what once was. All too soon itís 30 years hence, and things are different. I lost my grandmother. She left us from a nursing home bed, unable to move or speak. I grew up and nobody pats my head anymore. Iím not growing like a weed, just going to seed. Thatís probably my station in life now.

Meanwhile the courthouse languishes. The grand windows are gone Ė replaced by energy-efficient peepholes. No need for swatting wasps, I suppose, but those windows arenít very inspirational. The echoes are a little softer, too, thanks to acoustical tiles and suspended ceilings. The damage from Nannyís stroke was irreparable, but I bet someone could fix that courthouse and make it like it was.

I have to remind myself that I canít bottle life and youth and save it. Itís taken from me as sure as the sun will set at the end of the day. Love and God are for eternity, though, and no one can take from me the feeling of security I had in that old courthouse. Even so, itís a little harder to remember with each advancing year. When I take a step back into that old courthouse, in spite of the changes, the essence of all that once was comes rushing back, vibrant and alive. I take a leap closer to lost love, and I like the way it feels.

If the courthouse goes the way of my grandmother, it will filter back into the recesses of my faraway memories, stored away for another day. But oh how nice it is to get just a little bit closer when I can. How great it is to touch lost loved ones when we touch the walls that surrounded so many of their happy days. I know Iíll see Nanny again at some point, but for now, the courthouse is all we have left of her, and I donít want to lose that.

© Wes Reeves
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  • Memphis, Texas
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  • Texas Historic Preservation
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    This page last modified: October 17, 2006