Through the passenger window, I was staring at the shadowy clouds when Joe tuned off the two-lane to an overlaid driveway of diced roofing. I let my eyes travel ahead, until they spotted a two-story, wood-frame house. Taking a closer look, it was painted white with a teal-colored tin roof and hunter-green shutters on the windows, from what I could see, along with two other homes, an empty cornfield, and a pecan orchard. When Joe came to a stop under the breezeway, I could tell it extended from the wraparound front porch to the driveway.
“Well, here we are. Home sweet home,” he said, opening his door.
As I opened my door, I looked up, pass the second floor, at the window to the attic. “I guess I’ll be staying up there, I said with a sigh.
“Oh no. Mae has prepared your old room for ya,” Joe said, getting out of the truck.
“I stayed here a lot as a kid?” I asked him as I slid off the seat.
As soon as my feet touched the ground, Joe laughed and said, “Shoot. We just about raised ya when your dad wasn’t home or when ya weren’t with them boys, Jason and Daniel, at the lake.”
“Who are they?” I said when my door clicked shut.
“Childhood buddies,” Joe replied.
“Is that a… chimney I see?” I said, looking upward.
“It is,” Joe said, walking around the truck with my bag in hand. “We had it redone about a year ago after we replaced the caved-in roof.”
I was busy asking what happened when I was startled by a very distinguished, country accent. “Oh my God, is that you, Luke?” A heavy, southern accent said.
My eyes dropped down to a short, chubby woman, standing on the porch. She was dressed homey in a front, button-down, yellow dress, a green apron around her waist, and white house shoes.
“I presume you are Mae,” I said, looking into her golden-brown eyes.
“I am indeed,” her southern accent said as her arms unfolded.
It was all I could do to keep from crying when I ran into her open arms.
I was enjoying her welcomed embrace when she said, “It’s been a long time.” She pushed back from me and said, “You two should come on in before you catch your death of cold out here.”
I released my grip of her and shook my head before I ran for the truck and grabbed my bag. Joe waited for me and then I followed him over the porch and through the storm door.