We’ve been working on cleaning out my grandparent’s house lately. It’s been coming for a few years but the bulk has been done in just the past few months and weeks. I walked around the house today void of furniture and it felt…empty. Empty because even though the memories were made there, they are not held there. It’s something I’ve been trying to tell myself for a while but going there today with nothing really left inside helped me more than I thought it would. Last weekend it hit me and I cried for a very long time. Not sobbing really, just every time something came to mind, tears came too. So, I decided to write out a few memories (ok, maybe a lot) just to help me and maybe my family smile.
Things I remember most:
- Doing puzzles on the floor or any flat surface we could find.
- Learning to play Skip-Bo. Papaw let me win a lot.
- Reading “Are You My Mother?” and “Little Black Sambo” and another book about a dog that befriends 3 little old ladies so they knock down their fences to have one big backyard for it.
- When we were little the humongous living room floor would be so covered in paper from unwrapping presents you had to wade through it like a river.
- Decorating the Christmas Tree and finding all the funny ornaments. Like the little red bird with the Santa hat and the panty-hose elf!
- Playing White Gorilla. Although I still don’t know what the real rules are, it always resulted in the girls screaming and running around like crazy while Dad or Uncle Terry chased us.
- Taking naps in the warm den…sooo cozy.
- Papaw putting up the tree swing. So cool!
- Running out to the barn one day and coming face-to-face with a snake. I couldn’t watch Papaw chop it’s head off, icked me out, but I wanted it dead!
- Playing on the old run-down tractor.
- The first dog I really remember having, Chip, got to live with Papaw and Nana for a while. Pretty sure Papaw only got him for us and Nana thought he was crazy. I’ll never forget picking him up from the family that had these Shelties. I was so excited.
- Making ice cream with the hand-crank ice cream maker. The kids thought it sounded fun until our arms wanted to fall off.
- Pineapple-banana ice cream!
- All the Thanksgivings and Christmases we had there. So much food. So much fun!
- Nana teaching me to bake.
- Erin making the dressing for Thanksgiving the last few years. She’s the youngest in the family but she liked getting up early and helping.
- Playing with Nana’s gloves, scarves and fantastic vintagey jewelry.
- Projecting the slides on the living room wall. Ancient form of entertainment!
- Going into the creepy cellar. *Shiver*
- Papaw smelling like Chap-stick. The regular kind in the black tube. I can still smell it and think of him.
- Seeing birds nests in the ring-o-tress in the front drive. Saw some really pretty blue eggs one time. I think it was a dove’s nest?
- Wanting to drive the riding lawn mower to get the mail.
- Papaw’s garden. Oh my, I’ve seen so many things grow in that garden. Pumpkins, squash, beans, peppers, potatoes, corn, tomatoes. (Sorry, but I still don’t like tomatoes! I just know what a good garden grown one looks like.)
- Leah and Erin thought that Texas was literally just my grandparent’s house. Cuties.
Many of these memories make me laugh. I could go on and on. There was just a special feeling when we were at Papaw and Nana’s house that can’t ever be replaced. But, ultimately, the house is just the place. It’s the people and memories we need.