As a child, do you remember a greater joy than spending a week at grandma's house? I remember dying Easter eggs on Gamby and Granddad's back porch, catching bees in glass jars as they flitted over the clover, and walking down to the bayou (yes, I said bayou) to feed the ducks the stale bread that had been denied my grandfather. My siblings and I would climb the fig tree in the back yard, singing and eating until we emerged hours later, sticky and itchy from the milky sap. We were allowed to eat fudgecicles before lunch, ride big wheels (remember those?) up and down the cracked and tilted sidewalk, and scored at least two or three snow cones during a stay. One summer we kept an injured baby bird in a cage, another is memorable because of a knock-down, drag-out watermelon fight in which the adults were the fiercest competitors. I remember hanging a hose in a tree and playing for hours in the makeshift waterfall. My dad's parents lived around the corner and we spent all of our summer days in the swimming pool, putting around the tiny pond in our little sail boat. Every year Grandad over indulged in firecrackers on the Fourth of July.
Last week we were at my mom and dads. The kids are stretched thin with excitement long before it was time to go "to Raine's house," as they call my mom. I'm pretty sure my parents were too. Our summertime visits seem more special than any of the others. Maybe its because we have more time to spend, maybe it's because there is so much more to do during the warm months. It makes me wonder, in twenty years, what will my kids remember of their visits? The marshmallow roasts in the backyard? Hiking to see dinosaur tracks by the reservoir? Late evening wagon ridges with flashlights? Checking out the neighbors apple and raspberry crops for goodies? Fishing in Papa's boat? Uncle Roosie hanging them upside down by the ankles? Joseph referred to this particular trip as the seven days of Raine's, knowing we would be staying a week. It had a holiday ring to it, like the 12 days of Christmas.
We took the kids fishing while in Vernal. They talk about "Papa's boat" all year. The screaming starts when they see the tip of the pole start to bend.
"It's a fish! It's a fish!"
Uncle Ted calmly instructs from back of the boat and he stands, hands on the tiller, looking like Huck Finn on the river. All he's missing is the hat.
"Slowly, slowly. Keep doing it just like that."
Aunt Jessie has an extra hand on the pole, and is in charge of the net. Sometime we net them, sometimes they get away. But Benny's 'happy dance' when the fish finally flops into the boat is priceless. The trolling motor mounted on the back of the boat made for some interesting discussion. The rabbit and turtle symbols for the speed confused them a bit.
"Can we go rabbit speed?"
Benny points to the motor. "That's what you have to do if your trying to catch rabbits instead of fish."
I have an odd visual of small grey bunnies bouncing over the lake as the other adults grin into their palms. If we follow that logic, we should be catching plenty of turtles at the speed we're going.
A compromise is made, we'll fish at 'turtle speed', and right before we go in, Papa will take them around the lake at what the kids refer to as 'top rabbit speed.' The trolling motor comes up. The kids are all silent grins as they are bounced around over wakes and their short hair tried to whip in the wind.
*Special thanks to Ryan for creating the video for his technology challenged wife.