For me, I find that reminiscing is not only remembering; it includes all of one's senses that make the experience complete. This week, I had the joy of traveling down memory lane with a few of the most important women in my life.
Robby and I built our first home next to my mother. Why?, you may ask. We were young, starting a family and like most other young couples did not have very much money. My father's family had a large portion of land, which they divided among each of their children. My father ended up with 10 acres. Giving us one of those acres, allowed us to build our first house, where our little family of three would grow to six.
We have built several more houses over the past 29 years, however, that first one still remains next door to my mother and closest to my heart. There have been a couple more owners over the years who have taken up residence there and embraced my mother with a neighborly kindness that can only be found in the rural setting. Up until recently I have only viewed the house from the exterior. The present owner, who was making some improvements, allowed me to come inside for a tour. As I walked into the backyard, where the gigantic oak still stood tall casting a cooling shade over the back porch, I could see my boys playing in their sand box beneath it. Stopping and taking in the entire experience for a moment, I began the process that I like to refer to as, "Traveling Down Memory Lane".
That day, as I walked through the house where I raised my children for 13 years, memories came flooding back. Oh, the decor was different, but our family's spirit and imprint could still be found within the very atmosphere. This was where my children had spent long, lazy days running around outside with dirt on their faces. Often times they would wander next door to Mam-Maw's house to ask for a homemade biscuit, slathered with butter and Mayhaw jelly. We adopted dogs, rabbits, chickens, pigs and even a horse at this house. Our days and lives were full. Countless memories were made in this house...good memories that could never be erased. Not many people get the opportunity to revisit their old family home in the manner in which I was allowed. This was a gift for which I was thankful.
Monday was Halloween and Parker Ann was visiting me for the day. I chose that day to visit my mother once again. It was the perfect autumn day in the south. There was a light breeze blowing, cool enough to raise the windows and open the screen doors. My sister was off of work and also able to join us that day. When Mother met us at the door, I attempted not to notice how quickly time really had marched on. 83 years old now, her once dark cap of hair had turned as white as snow. The quick spring in her step was replaced by the assistance of a walking cane. Her spirit, however, was the same. Spunky, spry and sharp as a tack, she continued to enthusiastically welcome visitors. I could tell by the smile on her face that I had made her day by bringing her great-granddaughter to visit.
To say that Parker looks like her father is sort of putting it under the table...she looks EXACTLY like him. I suppose that is one reason that reminiscing for me that particular day was so intense. As I looked at her little face, it was like looking back in time; being allowed to once again hold my own small child. Although Mother must use that cane to amble around, she was still insistent that we all take to the outdoors to explore. My sister and I found an old red wagon on her back porch and decided that Parker should take a ride in it. We picked up acorns and pine cones and even took a little trip over to the fruit orchard. Parker LOVED being outdoors and we all LOVED showering her with our attention. I suddenly realized that 3 generations were standing before me, each in different phases of life. As I breathed in, I felt it...that feeling one gets when the intake of breath causes every part of one's being to be transported back in time and soak up the present, simultaneously. Time actually stood still as my senses were filled. The smell of burning leaves, the feel of the crisp autumn breeze against my skin, birds chattering off in the distance somewhere. I was taken back to those long, lazy days when my children were younger and times were simpler. It was a good feeling. It was a good day. It was a good life.
Time marches on. We long for it to slow down or even stop occasionally, but it does not acquiesce. That is the way of life, the way it was intended to be. Slow, lazy days are what life is all about. Days when one takes the time to simply allow their senses to become filled up. Days when we allow our minds to rest and reminisce...and travel down the seldom trod path of "Memory Lane".
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