The first circle of homes are made almost entirely of wood, wooden porches, wooden floors, exterior walls covered with paint covered redwood boards, and interior walls covered with wooden slats before a heavy coat of plaster. Even the shingles on the roofs of the oldest houses were once wood shakes although now most of the shakes have been replaced with less flammable materials. The second circle of houses is mixed, with some wooden sided homes still persisting, but stucco sided homes with slightly brighter colors and smaller or non-existent porches. And with each additional circle the homes adapt to the current style at the time of their being constructed. The newest homes are the farthest from downtown. The oldest homes with the larger trees and narrow streets are close to town.
The wide soft tires of Jack’s bicycle appreciate the first of the blacktop covering of the first paved road leading to The Village and he relaxed a bit to enjoy the level, relatively smooth surface. He peddled past the grocery store waving back to a few people who waved at him. He turned onto the one cross street at the corner with the Penney’s store and then almost immediately made a left onto the first lane of homes. At the second oldest house in town Jack steered the old heavy bike off the road and across a green lawn. He slid from the oversized seat and let the bike continue on its own until it hit the side of a hundred year old oak tree in the center of the yard, an action he repeated almost everyday and an action that had so far done little damage to the tree and would never harm the ancient bicycle.
Jack climbed the four wooden steps to the wide porch and let the screen door slam behind him as he entered the house.
“Mom! I’m home!” he shouted to the empty front room and plopped down onto the green flowered sofa, which took up most of the room in the room.
“Stay off my furniture until you’ve had your shower,” Jack’s mother shouted from the kitchen without looking to see if her warning was needed.
Jack groaned like an old man as he removed himself from his soft nest and proceeded to take care of the action needed before he would be allowed to rest.
“Have some more potatoes Jack,” his mother passed the bowl to his sister and his sister sat it in front of his plate. Jack looked at the scoop of potatoes still on his plate and ignored the offer.
“Toby says the crop will be great this year, it certainly looks good,” Jack said as he continued to work on the meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans still on his plate. Without quite finishing chewing he added, “the heads are a full inch thick and bright, bright red.”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” his father said with quiet authority and went back to his usual silence.
“Did you get to eat some right from the field?” Sally, Jack’s younger sister asked, a bit in awe of her older brother.
“Of course I did,” Jack bragged. “And you should have seen the bright red bread Toby sliced for lunch. It had to have been made with pure red grain.
“Well, that should take care of that cold you were trying to catch,” his mother said with a bit of envy. “I wish there were more of the red grain then we could all live as long as Toby.”
“How old is Toby?” Sally asked interested in anything but her dinner. She had heard the answer many times.
“No one knows,” her father gave the proper and honest answer in between bites.
“Your grandfather helped him in the field when he was your age just like you did today, and Toby was an old white haired man back then.” Jack’s mother said just to watch Sally’s eyes grow big with amazement at the story she had heard a hundred times. “The blue stocks only grow on the square of land Toby owns. It will grow nowhere else in the whole world.”
“In the whole world,” Sally repeated the words like she was reading from the Bible, or maybe praying. She was, once again, impressed.