At one point over the weekend, while at a family reunion at the uncle's house, I found myself sitting in the dining room with my mom and my aunt looking out the sliding doors to my grandma on the porch. I began reminiscing about the summers I spent at my grandparent's house when I was little. This is something I find myself doing more frequently these days, as it is summer and my grandparents are now approaching their 90s. It's these memories that stick with me more than any others I possess. Many of them are among my sharpest, clearest memories I have of my childhood. For someone, like myself, who has a horrible memory that means quite a bit.
Every single memory, every pleasant, nostalgic feeling warms my heart beyond compare. They transport me to a time that shaped who I am and what I love today.
Swimming in the pool next to the pavilion with a blue plastic diamond at its peak, with my grandma watching over me. In the kitchen, perched on the little faux leather stool with the old homemade teddy bear in hand, making fake phone calls from an antique phone mounted on the wall for decoration. Nestled under the wood dining table with an ornately carved center pedestal playing with dolls and mimicking the recent Gilligan's Island episode I had watched. Learning to paint seagulls with watercolors under the guidance of my grandma. Closely watching my grandpa cross stitch. The gaudy brown sofa with giant flowers that felt like sandpaper when you sat on it. Carefully placing a coaster on top of the glass of iced tea I had put in the mailbox for grandpa (while he mowed the yard), so that bees wouldn't fly into it. Making grilled cheese sandwiches, with garlic powder sprinkled on the butter, for lunch with grandma. Watching Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C./MASH/Days of Our Lives/Price Is Right/Gilligan's Island/Beverly Hillbillies/I Love Lucy/The Andy Griffith Show/Bob Newhart/The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. The soft light creeping in through the windows of my grandparents mobile home, making it feel shaded, cool and safe.
I will be deeply sad when that place is no longer there for me to visit many years from now. When those faces are gone. But those memories, I will hold them close and tight for as long as I possibly can.