Holiday time and I’m thinking about the past. This picture captures a piece of mine – a cherished place, boxwood hedges big enough to live in, Japanese beetles swarming over the outdoor water taps, three pine trees assigned to three pine cone-throwing children, spent shotgun shells under foot in the woods, running down vast lawns, John Philip Sousa marches on a turntable on an extension cord that ran all the way from the house to a spot next to a wisteria arbor, sitting enthralled by the 1976 Olympic games in a room with built-in bookshelves and hundreds of books, two collies that died too soon, a tractor I knew how to drive, neighborly cats that dropped by to get a snack or deliver a litter, the chicken I ate at the Dutch Pantry for a few months straight, the smell of the Southern States store, the broken-down gray wood of the tobacco barns and their musty, delicious air. And my mother everywhere, smiling, starting something new, making something with her hands, asking questions.
I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last week, but I could spend days writing down all the memories I retain of that place.
I wish for my children to remember their own cherished place(s) when they reach midlife, and draw the same strength and happiness from them. And selfishly – I hope I’m a part of the happiness of those memories.