My Grandmother’s Cellar

My Grandmother’s Cellar

By Roger Johnson


staircaseThe cellar was open, but my cousin Joey ducked in even when we had been told to stay out. Of course we were supposed to stay out of the silo and granary too, but that hadn’t stopped us. We were at our grandparents’ farm where we all gathered every Fourth of July. Anyway, I followed Joey on a dead run. It was dark and I do not know what happened but suddenly my head hurt big time. Things were spinning. There was now no roof on the cellar, in fact the cellar walls were silver, shiny and very smooth. How strange! I had fallen, maybe tripped, over a bed of white geometric shapes about the size of baseballs and they were not too comfortable as I lay there. I could hear familiar family voices coming from above where the roof should have been. Grandmother was talking and she sounded as if she were giving a lecture or instructions. The whole cellar, that I found myself in, would move first one way and then the other, not unlike a ride I had been on recently at the fair except that I was not strapped in this time and it was not very long before I wished I had been. If my head hadn’t hurt so bad it probably could have been a cool experience at least up to this point.

Without warning, a shiny, silver spear plunged into the white shapes just missing my head. Frightened, I rolled away from it quickly and looked up to see where the spear had come from, but it had disappeared as quickly as it had come. After looking up I had also figured out I could not be in my grandparent’s cellar, it was more like the size of half a silo in height and it was round. Suddenly my cellar took off in a straight line as I was thrown against the rear and just as suddenly I stopped and was thrown against the opposite wall. I was covered with the white shapes above the chest and just then the spear shot in and out again. This time I heard my mother’s voice above the roof opening.

“I don’t know, mother, this would be hard to get used to.”

I was obviously under attack by someone and my family was nearby. I could hear them. Why weren’t they helping me?

Then my dad’s voice, “Come on, gimmie that,” and the whole inside of my cellar got very dark and was suddenly covered by something that look to me like a canvas dome.

“Honey, you’re not supposed to hold it that way,” I heard my mother say. I heard my father grumble at that, but it got light again and the canvas dome disappeared.

How I survived the spear this time I am not sure, because it came in at an angle and probed all around before it went out again and I heard my dad mumbling the whole time.

Apparently mom’s sister, my Aunt Alice, also Joey’s mom, was there and after another jolting start and stop I heard Aunt Alice say, “Mother, this is charming. Do you know what it is worth?” I do not know what my grandmother replied because I had momentarily forgotten about the spear as my whole cellar was tipped at a severe angle and I became completely covered by the white geometric objects. I struggled with swimming motions to get uncovered and as the spear came in more slowly this time I thought it looked a little more like an oar from a row boat. I still would not want to be hit square in the head by it and it still looked like it was made of metal.

Then my cellar was accelerated, sort of bounced and reaccelerated before it stopped. I heard my Uncle Frank say, “No thanks. Where is the dang peppermill?”  When I stopped this time I looked up and saw three chimneys with fire coming out of the top of each of them. I wondered if I was going to have to deal with a spear and fire.

I was now in the middle of the worst shaking I had received so far and the spear had already come in and out three or four times rapidly when I heard my Aunt Alice from far away holler, “Joey, that’s enough.”

Another rough start and stop and I saw a huge eyeball over the roof of my cellar and perhaps the biggest shock of all, my own voice. “Grandmother, there is something in here and it’s moving around.”

“Oh dear,” and I could hear her quickly move to where my voice was coming from. My cellar tipped and the spear stirred up all the white shapes around me. Completely covered with white, geometric chips, I went for a very fast ride in one direction. The cellar was then turned completely up-side-down and I felt cold water all over my face.

That’s when I regained consciousness. The whole family was there and someone had thrown cold water on my face. Apparently I had fallen and hit my head hard going into my grandparents cellar and while unconscious I had re-experienced grandmother showing off her antique salt cellar at dinner, but I had just experienced it from inside the salt cellar. That’s one Fourth of July I will not forget.



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