See that creek just down yonder? Why, that’s where your great-great-grandparents got married back in 1896.
And that oak tree over there? Your great-great-grandfather planted that tree when he got back from the Spanish-American War.
And that boulder to the east? That’s where your great-great-grandfather used to shoot his gun at low-flying planes because he was frightened by change.
Yes, son, this is Harrison land.
The well down the way? Your great-grandfather filled it up with nothing but his spit and God’s rain. That’s good Carolina spit-water in there.
That mound of dirt over there? That’s where your great-grandfather buried the stash and the gun from a violent armored car robbery he pulled during the Great Depression. That heist, of course, was later immortalized in the 1972 Disney live-action comedy, “The Bumbling Bank Robbers of Crawnanny Creek” starring the always-wonderful Tim Conway and Don Knotts.
That burning tractor over there? Your great-grandfather got drunk and lit that tractor on fire in 1952 when Eisenhower got elected. We leave it burning to honor his memory and also because we’re afraid to go near it.
Breathe in that air, son. That’s Harrison air.
That duck pond? Your grandfather used to sit there and play the banjo. Well, he thought it was a banjo. It was actually a mandolin. We tried to tell him, but he’d just yell at us. “I know what’s in my goddamned hands! Get away from me,” he’d scream. I guess sometimes it’s just easier to live the lie.
That pine tree over there? Just a pine tree. Not everything has a story.
That herd of grazing mutants chained by their necks to stakes in the ground? That’s from when your grandfather conducted bizarre animal mating experiments in the 1970s until the half-men/half-monsters grew so in strength and intelligence that they were able to overthrow him and set up their own utopian society until the army came in and restored order.
This is where Harrisons are born. This is where Harrisons will die.
That duck pond just past the other duck pond? Forty years ago, I was sitting there one afternoon when the world’s most beautiful melody popped into my head. I was so arrested by its gorgeousness that, despite not having any musical proficiency whatsoever, I ran into town and bought a piano just so I could figure out how to play the melody on it. But by the time I got home and sat down on the piano bench, the melody had left my head forever. And I was stuck with a piano because of the piano store’s stringent return policy. It was the worst day of my life.
Those huckleberry bushes just over that ridge? Those bushes contain huckleberries. Wikipedia says huckleberries are “small and round, 5-10 mm in diameter and look like blueberries.” Wikipedia is right.
Those two ghostly figures standing next to us? That’s a rip in the space-time continuum, revealing to us a vision of you and your son having a conversation just like this one, some 50 years in the future. Why are your future selves engulfed in blue flames? All things will be answered in time, my boy.
Do you see this land, son? This land is our land. This land is Harrison land.
So, no, your girlfriend can’t stay the night.
Jamison Webb lives in Chicago. He can be followed and unfollowed @jamisonwebb.