Friday, November 24, 2006

Memories In the Air [CCR]

Snow is falling outside and it seems winter has decided to make itself known even before its official day of entry over a month away. After we first moved to Ohio the boys were excited about the opportunity to see a lot of snow. That excitement faded away after their second round of shoveling the driveway. As a child I would have been excited at this point because we probably wouldn’t have school tomorrow. But here the snow plows insure the children will not miss out on school.

During cold weather my mind turns to the warm days back home in Alabama. Tonight I remember my Grandmother Smith’s yards. Grandmother Smith always had flowers growing in the spring. Their driveway split just before the house with one lane leading to the front yard and one lane leading through the shade of the trees to the back yard. Each year a large group of colorful tulips grew along that lane. Those tulips marked the beginning of spring for me. And it also often held a secure position for Easter eggs.

Spring also meant the shade trees on the North side of Grandmother’s house began to grow their leaves to provide shade for the summer. Granddaddy had two large rocks in the shape of benches. These rocks, mounted on smaller rocks, made a wonderful shady resting place after an afternoon of play or work. The house is on a hill meaning you always felt any breeze blowing through the area as the wind herald its presence in the leaves overhead.

On the South side of the house Grandmother had her clothes line. The clothes hanging on the line flapped in the wind and filled the air with the scent of fresh washed sheets. I can still remember Grandmother’s wringer washer churning the clothes clean. Then she carried the clothes out to the line and hung them in the fresh breeze. Today we throw a scented sheet in the dryer hoping for that same fresh smell. You can go down to the local store and buy candles that try to emulate that smell but can’t really match it. (My apologies to the candle makers out there.)

The back yard had its own set of shade trees that surrounded the old wooden sheds holding Granddaddy’s tools. To the side of the shed Granddaddy parked his old Ford tractor he had for many years. And in front of the shed was the old well house. An old electric line hung overhead between the well house and the main house to power the pump.

Of course my memories run across many years. In later years both the wringer washer and the tractor had left. But the shade trees and the breeze on the hill remained even to this day. I remember Granddaddy and me sitting beneath the pear tree just in front of the garden. Granddaddy was pealing a pear as he talked to me about my life, what I was doing, or what girl I might be seeing. I am sure he was using the moment to remember his own childhood and his own pleasant memories. Each of us use those pleasant moments in the past to warm our souls.

The wind is now blowing cold outside and the snow glitters across our yard. I knew I should have finished raking the leaves last weekend. Maybe my children will remember the days when we wrapped up in large overcoats and trudged through the snow to clear the driveway. Hopefully those memories will cool a hot Southern summer day for them as they enjoy the pleasures of my home in Alabama.