Monday, August 20, 2007

Day 26, Road Trip, Big Families, Big Memories

One thing I've discovered as I touch base again with so many family members that I so seldom get to enjoy is that they all remember different things. My mom was one of fourteen kids, two of whom were twins. Aunt Cookie had eleven of her own, including two sets of twins. None of us can sit down without the memories starting to pour out. It's so hard not to whip out the journal and start taking notes, but it would destroy the moment, and so I don't, but it always amazes me that everyone has their own favorite memories, and they're always different. I guess it's not so strange that they often seem to show us kids in our goofiest moments.

My favorite from today's visit with Aunt Louise was her retelling of the long awaited visit of my mom when she brought little Pat, just a small boy, for a visit. While the two sisters sat by the wood stove in the kitchen to catch up on old times, Pat went up the stars to use the bathroom. As they sat there, the sudden sound of sizzling on the stove got their immediate attention, and they looked up to see "something" dripping from the bathroom register onto the stove. When Pat came downstairs again, Aunt Louise said that she asked him what he had done upstairs, and he told her that he had gone to make pee.
"Where?" she asked.
"In the toy-o-let."
"Then why did it sizzle on my stove?"
She said he looked at her very solemnly and said, "I had a little left over."

Those registers played a big part in my memory, too. When I was little, if we were very good for Grandma while visiting, the doll would dance in Grandma's kitchen. I didn't realize it then, but Grandpa would be up in the bathroom above their kitchen (different house) with fishing line attached to the rag doll, who was collapsed on the floor below. Grandma would say we were very good, and the doll would jump up and dance. It was one of the miracles of my childhood, how that doll knew if I'd been good or not. If I had done anything that wasn't very nice, then that doll would just lay there, and never more than twitched. I always knew if she was going to dance for me. Another one of those things that I didn't figure out until much later was that Grandma never really had eyes in the back of her head. She had a very small mirror over the sink.

Why do we travel so many miles? Yes, the woods are glorious, and the many beautiful new places we visit are treats and treasures to take out and examine on quiet days of reflection. They are all blessings in their own rites. But the real gold is in the smiles and memories we make today and call up from all those yesterdays.

No comments: