Mary Banas

The Deck


The deck went along the entire front of the house and wrapped around the side, forming the shape of an “L”. There is a photo of me wearing a blue and white polka dot dress and blue and white saddle shoes sitting, cowboy style, on the railing. The joy radiates from my neat, white, baby-teeth smile. I often visited the image, hanging on a narrow hallway wall in my Mother’s mother’s house, among many other framed photographs which were hung salon-style. But my Grandma would not have known a term like “salon-style”… she knew toasted rye bread with butter for breakfast and cans of store-brand soda lining the white painted shelf down to a cellar that smelled like it’s hard-packed dirt floor. She knew watching a Catholic service on television when she could not go to church because she didn’t know how to drive. She knew the feeling of twiddling her thumbs because she often sat in a rocking chair with her hands gently clasped and rotated one digit over the other.

I remember pausing in the hallway to study the photo, and wondering if that person was still me, and how to be that happy.