This is the one I remember. I have color pictures somewhere, but it’s late, and I couldn’t sift through all those pictures alone. My earliest memories are in the kitchen of this house. There was a small back room that was mine when we came to visit, and sat closed up the rest of the year. I learned to reload in the basement, explored the woods behind the house, climbed the old apple tree, watched the moon landing in 1969.
We had Christmas there when I was little. This one was already scanned, someone was using Kodachrome, and I was interested in the color and details when I found them. That is your future blogger being overshadowed by the bunny, there in Christmas of 1958, I would guess. That floral print rocking chair has been refinished and is sitting in my living room. The decorations on that tree are in my attic, waiting for another Christmas.
When I went back the last time for for my Grandfather’s funeral, I hiked into the overgrown fields, worked my way back to the old cemetery under the big oak trees, went down and sat at the reloading bench, went room to room, and let the tears and the memories wash over me.
I could write about a lot of things, but I’ll share one memory and then let the door close. Nothing special, but a memory so clear I can see the kitchen table, the enamelware plates, and the faces of my relatives.
Wednesday evening, some summer in the late 1960s. My grandfather, father, and I had gotten home from the trap range and just finished cleaning the guns. My grandmother made coffee and got out snacks. We sat around the table, and I guess they sort of forgot I was there, because no one sent me off. Talking and laughing and telling stories as it got completely dark outside and the crickets picked up their song. Finally, I was sent to bed, quietly making my way up the stairs, the sounds of their voices still clear behind me in the kitchen.
God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.
–James Matthew Barrie, Rectorial address, May 3, 1922, St. Andrew’s University, Scotland