Mack Williams: Granite everywhere, even in the sandpile

Published 12:23 am Sunday, May 24, 2015

This week’s title brings to mind the quote from the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”: “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Of course, granite is unchewable, and in its semi-liquid molten state, undrinkable; so let’s talk about it being “everywhere,” mentioning a few places (out of the many) in Salisbury and Granite Quarry, ending with my boyhood home on the Old Concord Road.

Before ever knowing “granite” was a rock (consisting of quartz, feldspar, biotite mica, and amphibole), I considered it to be the destination of my morning school bus ride.

I first learned about “granite” in grade school at “Granite” (what a difference a capital makes), about the same time I became a rock nut. (Those who knew me then might consider “rock” as too limiting a modifier.)

As a small child, the number of granite constructions outside my home impressed me; but I’ll only mention several, since I’ve previously written of quarries and a “house of stone.”

One of the older, still-standing buildings of Granite Quarry School is made of granite. The old two-story brick section was torn down and replaced years ago (almost as if the wolf’s destructive breath finally became adapted to brick, but not granite).

Hedrick Motor Company and its garage were granite constructed; and I remember sitting in the garage listening to the conversation between my father and the mechanic, mostly the news, instead of auto parts. Never mechanically minded, I sat there occupying myself with one of my Little Golden Nature Guides. (I was civil, though, but only spoke when spoken to.)

Nowadays, my car is repaired in a garage made of aggregate cinderblock (good thing the earth’s surface isn’t supported by such). Like my father, my conversation there concerns happenings of the day, not the flywheel.

The town of Faith has so many homes and businesses constructed of granite, evidently “built to last.” It’s as if much of Faith was planned to one day be wandered through like Pompeii, minus the volcanic sadness.

The granite garage in the back yard of my youth belonged to others before me, and to others since. I remember the bottom of its wooden rolling door being in a rotten state, wood being more sensitive to the elements than granite (except when petrified). I’m sure that most of the cars once sheltered there are either rust, or have been melted down and “re-cast.”

My front porch steps were granite slabs laid lengthwise. When stepping on them, I was upheld by that which makes up the continents.

Parts of the supporting corner columns of my old front porch were granite. Back then, in summertime, those flat, stone “shelves” served as places to set a cold glass of tea and the bowl containing my baby red-eared slider turtles.

When I lived at the old home, the chimney front had an inlaid, decorative piece of granite. It had the same tablet shape as those held aloft by Charlton Heston in “The Ten Commandments,” but being blank, it contained neither “commandment” nor “suggestion.”

Having previously written in detail of my old living room’s granite hearth, I only mention it here in passing.

My boyhood sand pile consisted of trucked-in Yadkin River sand, with “seating” consisting of several unadorned granite slabs, seemingly direct from the quarry (the same look as the front porch steps). Each was a little over 6 feet long, about a foot wide, and about half-a-foot deep.

One piece was a gently sloped arch. Since the child had his flat, monolithic seat, this seemed to be a good spot for the parents to sit and watch him at play.

When I first returned there in 2009, present owners and friends Charlie and Pam showed me where those old slabs lay, long moved from the old sand pile. The sand had seeped into the ground, becoming just a component of what defines soil (sand, clay, organic matter).

The granite arch, although upside down and moved further back, remains there, too.

I had a hunch that I would probably see the granite “bones” of my old sand pile again, figuring that they couldn’t have gone far; because in addition to being as dense as the mountains, granite is quite heavy!

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