January 18, 2009

Looking back


Picking up some old pictures from my mother resulted, of course, in a retrospective meandering of time and paths traveled. We've all had the daydream that starts with "If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now..." It started out that way, but quickly morphed into a simple walk around in memories. That led to the inevitable slide show, the quick flash sequence of snapshots of things that I have done, said, and seen...

I seem to remember getting hurt a lot when I was a young kid, as pictured here... There were fights and wrestling sessions... that will happen when you have two older brothers ten years your senior... It's hard to notice in the picture, with all the dirt, scratches and spots... but I'm sporting a bright scratch right on the end of my nose. When I looked at the picture It all seemed so clear. "As if it were yesterday" so to speak... We were living in town, and my brothers had a group of friends over playing basketball on the patio just out the back door. We were ordered to remain on the back porch and entertain ourselves with fisher price people, we had the boat and the barn that made the mooing noise of the cow when you opened or shut the door... the plane was always at hand as well...


We were naturally not paying any attention to the toys and were hanging on the rail of the of porch watching the basketball game proceed in a rush of sweat, cussing and barbs thrown from person to person. Finally, not being able to take the sidelines any more, I ran right out into the middle of the game and was rewarded by running into one the guys as he was in mid air, falling back to the ground after making a shot. The decent little cut on the nose was my reward for breaking the rules set down by my brothers.

Memories are funny things. They lead you in directions and you have no choice but to follow. My childhood was a pleasant farce of bee stings, sweat, sunburn, hide and seek, honeysuckle, cookouts, woods, Christmas, BB guns, Gilligan's island, starwars, licoln logs, and fireworks. There were Sunday diners at my Grandfather's place. The entire family showed up every Sunday... Aunts, Uncles, cousins.. the complete family. There were fourth of July barbecues, week long events, again surrounded by the entire family. Stories by fireside of my dad's adventures with his brothers.. One of my favorites being when they were made to get out of the front yard by a nervous grandmother who had "visions", only to have a train derail across the street a little while later and a huge boxcar slide right into the spot they were playing... it was loaded with Ovaltine and they, along with everybody else in the area, were fully stocked for some time to come...

Those days I miss... youth... of course I miss being a child, yet, more than that - I miss the closeness of the family. I am as much to blame for this as anyone, yet when I step out onto my porch and think about the smells, sounds and family that once permeated this area. I feel a bit sad. There is something so "defeated" and forlorn about looking at the spot where the barbecue shed my grandfather built stood.... To look at the spot in their back yard and think of the people, laughter, food and simple joy that once surrounded that place.. to see it now will surely make those that recall it in its prime weep for a time long gone by.

Where have all the people gone that formulated these groups which comprised the backgrounds for these events in time? Many have passed away, little did I know that these were the people that really held us all together. That, it seems, is my biggest regret... not holding on to that spirit when I had the chance.

4 comments:

Rob Cole - eyesupward said...

Far too many times, I too have looked back at those "old memories". Having shared a small portion of that time with Clay and having roots as deep as any in these parts (rustic jargin), it is regretful that we realize, far too late, that the bonds of family were most important to those that truly appreciated the "family bond".
Our generation has been called the "me" generation; fully expecting instant gratification. Not until adulthood, and a very recent life altering event, could I fully appreciate my own short-sightedness. I do long for those hours of stories and laughter at my grandparents feet; the stories of the community I grew up in, from a time when even our nation seemed so infintile. Our innocence was lost, not so much by the passing of time, but through the loss of tradition. When we started trying to be instantly pleased, we lost the patience that creates lasting memories. When we stopped listening, we stopped learning and when you don't learn, you die. We've all died a little on the inside. I too, my friend, share your regret. God speed...

Junebug said...

We all have our memories.
As we get older and look back at those older memories warm our hearts.
We continue to make new memories that sustain us in our lifetimes no matter where we live.
It's a given those who are no longer with us their memories stand out the best.

C.S. Perry said...

I really miss that boat.

Just me... said...

Growing up... It's really very bittersweet. Missing the old folks that always used to be around. Missing the friends that have now scattered to the four winds. And cherishing the memory of them all.
I can almost smell the honeysuckle that grew wild in the woods behind the house...