Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Memory of the Day

As I age, I've become quite nostalgic. I think for those of us who do not live near our "roots," memories of the past are the glue that holds the present together. Because I have so many fond memories, I want to take time every so often to write about one.

Today I want to write about Star Hill. For most of the year, Star Hill, in Louisiana, Missouri was just one of our tallest hills in town. If I recall correctly, on the way to the peak, was Mr. Christy's house. It was rumored his home had been used in the underground railroad. I always thought that was a cool fact! At the very top of the hill was enough rock and mud to make four-wheeling fun. Our camera club went up there one year, and came back drenched in a head-to-toe mudpack!

But, the BEST memory of Star Hill is something that occurred the day after Thanksgiving every year. A tremendous star, lit by many bright lights, would illuminate the sky at dusk and inspire us in the darkness, to cherish the Christmas season. Before we knew it, the lights were out for the year.

So, this year, even though I can't see the star, I can cherish what the star means to me.

"O-o Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright..."

1 comment:

Wade said...

Yes, Star Hill was an interesting part of the landscape in Louisiana. For those who haven’t been up there, or maybe don’t even know where it is, I’ll add some more info. It is more or less in the center of town, but no roads go completely over it. In fact, there is basically just the one road that goes to the top, deadending up there. At the top were lots of giant boulders, like what you see along the highway just north of Clarksville. They seemed very out of place up there, and with the limited access (for much of the year, or some entire years, the road was closed off), it seemed as if you had left Louisiana when you went up there, though you were right in the center and, in the wintertime, had a good view of the town.

As you said, for most of the year, we didn’t pay much attention to it, especially as children when we had no means of driving to the top ourselves. I have a few memories of Star Hill besides Christmas time. (Thanks for reminding me when it was lit up every year! I had forgotten it was the day after Thanksgiving every year.) One memory is when Dad and I think one other guy (and I) went up there, and Dad and the other guy sighted in their rifles. It was right before deer season. Looking back, I thought this was very unDadlike, because for one thing, a bullet could have ricocheted off one of those boulders and caused an injury or worse, and for another, it was within town limits and was surely illegal. As for the first point, perhaps they were shooting against a soft dirt background and not one of the giant boulders, but I can’t remember for sure.

My other memory was when I was a senior in high school. I believe there were four of us: Darin Hart, Rudy Bell, a new kid to our school named Paul W. (had a long Polish last name), and I. We drove up there one night, not intending to do anything bad at all, just wanted to get away from the constant back and forth of the Georgia Street drag, I think. Anyway, we parked, got out and walked around, enjoying the view, and all of a sudden we heard another car coming up! I think maybe we quickly thought of our options, and not knowing for sure that it was okay to be up there, we scrambled, hiding behind different boulders and such. I heard a collective “Oh no!” when the car reached the top of the road and we could see it was a town police car.

Well, we were just high school kids, good high school kids at that, and we could have just come out and talked to the cop. He would have surely sent us on our way, no harm no foul. For us, though, it was exciting in a way to be “hiding from the cops”! As the police car drove slowly around the wide, open space at the top, surely noting our parked car and maybe even running its license plate (I can’t remember whose car, but it wasn’t mine), I felt an adrenaline rush. The cop was shining his outboard beam all around us! It was like that scene toward the end of The Sound of Music, when Rolf and the other soldiers are shining their flashlights around and the Von Trapps are hiding.

It was only a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity to us kids. About as soon as the cop left, we did, too!