Down in the cellar
It was cold and dark,
lit by one small, dim, overhead bulb,
That produced a bleak, weak light;
We played club in the cellar,
Carol and Patti and I
And sat in a circle
Around a lit candle,
That my mother would have had
A fit about if
She had known
About the candle
That we were wasting.
Scariest of all was the mud cellar
With just a small path
Across the length of the room
illuminated slightly by a small window
That looked out on the street
But cupboards along the left side
held some of my mother’s canned goods.
It was a dry, hard, packed yellow dirt
Which didn’t go clear to the floor boards
To the living room above.
My little brothers played in here
With small cars and trucks,
Especially when it was raining,
And my father kept his fishing gear
And large wading boots on a hook
Over the mud side.
There were three rooms in the cellar
But for some reason
That one room had not been excavated
When the house was built.
One day, Carol and Patti and I
Were playing club
When the telephone rang
Upstairs in the dining room
And I ran upstairs to answer it.
Carol and Patti came bursting through
The cellar door,
Their eyes wide with fright
“There’s a dead body down there!”
“Down where?” I asked, baffled
“IN THE MUD CELLAR!” they shouted;
“Oh, no there isn’t” I replied
And I headed downstairs,
With the two of them
Cowering behind me.
I went to the mud cellar,
And turned on the small light
In that room
And we all began to laugh.
“Their “dead body” was my father’s
wading boots hanging from a hook.
Sandra Lee Smith
(incident occurred around 1949-1950