A beautiful summer's day - and a bonus that it was my day off. Woke and had breakfast and prayed Matins while Cindi was out for her run and biking, then I headed out not long after she came back. Very hot today and so I ended up only running 3 miles and then biking the seven up to the swamp and back. As I was biking along and enjoying the sunshine, and later as I floated in the pool, my mind went back to childhood.
I remembered the wonderful summer visits to the country, when we'd stay at my Grandpa's (later belonging to my Aunt and Uncle). Morning brought breakfast - country sausage or scrapple, thick slabs of bacon, fresh cantaloupes from the garden, cereals and fruits and so much more. What did I eat? I remember almost always choosing a piece of toast with that country butter - it had to be dotted on the bread and slipped into the oven of the wood stove to melt a little, and a strong cup of Aunt Emma's coffee.
Then George and I were out and about. We loved to play in the branch. Minnows darted to and fro in the water, crawdads hid under the rocks, water skippers skimmed the surface, and colorful dragonflies hovered here and there. Sometimes we'd head into Buzzard's Roost and carve our names on the trees (as had generations before us), or we'd drink water from the springs that came out of the side of the hill - one came right from a tree's root.
I loved the time there best of all. But I had my other grandparents to visit too - no children around there, though. But wonderful memories of iced tea so sweet it hurt to drink it, the most delicious cornbread in all the world (wood stoves and their ovens cannot be beat for flavor). Most of all I remember the birds. When the meal was done, Grandma Bess would scatter some of the corn bread along some boards nailed to the top of a couple posts, and the birds flocked down to eat. All kinds of beautiful birds - blue birds and cardinals and I can't remember what all. Just that it was always wonderful to see.
Evenings were usually spent back at the other farm. I can hear the slow creak of the front porch swing as dust began to settle and we listened to hear the first of the whippoorwill's song. Sometimes a board game or two in the evening. Then back with the crowd of adults on the screened in porch for laughter and talking and story telling. And how many nights did Sue just about put me to sleep as she scratched my back? Beautiful and wonderful memories.
Both houses sit empty now - my father's parent's home falling apart; my mother's parent's home in much better shape. I'm glad for growing up with lots and lots of trips to the country. It's why I think I never took to camping - why camp? You can have all the benefits and none of the hassles by visiting the family and heading out to the fields, the woods, the branch or run, and the rivers. I think I'm thinking about it a lot because my cousin's son was suddenly killed - an auto accident this week. I'm sure I met him but it was long ago. I wonder if he had the same joys about the old place that his mother's generation had? I hope he did. And may God rest his soul.