Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Inspiration and a Home of Memories

Today's SOL Tuesday writing was inspired by Kathleen Sokolowski's  post "Waving Goodbye" that appeard today. http://couragedoesnotroar.blogspot.com/2016/05/sol16-waving-goodbye.html?m=1 

Her words touched me with such emotion. I recalled a piece I had written many years ago and decided to revisit it and do some revising. Thanks to Kathleen for the inspiration.

Check out more Slice of Life writing at www.twowritingteachers.org 

Together ... And For Always ... We Will Remember

I stood in my Grandma's dining room in silence surrounded by the memories. Her china cabinet stood in the corner, and it held within its fine wood and glass the bits of days gone by - a cup and saucer from a trip to Washington D.C., crystal wedding goblets, pieces of milk glass, a tea set, salt and pepper shakers and other delicate pieces of fine china.

In the center of the room, stood a big wooden table which had been the center of birthday celebrations and family gatherings. As I reached to touch the lace tablecloth, I glanced at the empty chairs and thought about the times we gathered around that big table. When I really listened, I could still hear the singing and laughing that filled this room.

I turned to see the antique phonograph and placed an old 78 record on the turn table, wondering why in all the years before I had never heard it play, Why now?

I walked to the living room and settled myself in the old rocker, its familiar creaking much louder now that she was no longer here. I rocked to try and ease the silence, glancing across the room to the huge stone fireplace with its collection of photographs on the mantle.

Grandma's favorite chair was empty. Now she rests at my mother's home in a not-so-familiar chair looking out the window, day after day, struggling to remember. I wanted her there with me surrounded by the shadows of her past. Then ... maybe then...together we could remember.

As I left the living room, I cold hear the last few creaks of the rocker but now my footsteps echoes on the kitchen floor. In my mind, I could smell raspberry pie in the oven, the spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove top, and I could remember making that wonderful homemade pizza. The smell of yeast would fill the kitchen as Grandma kneaded the dough. My own small fingers would help her pat the dough into the pan. The smell of her pizza sauce made our mouths tingle with anticipation. As we topped the pizza with freshly grated parmesan cheese there would always be a nibble for me.

Through the doorway across the room was the pantry hung with huge canning pots and baskets for picking cherries from the tree in the yard. On the window sill, lined up in a parade of green, were her aloe plants and through the window I could see the spot where there was once a hand water pump. I can remember pumping up and down until the water emerged and playing in the fresh coolness under the apple tree with my brother and sisters. We would giggle and dance in the puddles, splashing each other until we screamed with joy.

In the barn sat the big red tractor, quiet now but once a giant of a machine with the sound of thunder. The ground would shake and and the tractor would rumble as it crept slowly out of the barn with my grandfather in his wide-brimmed hat sitting proudly on top. We would jump with excitement hoping for a ride on his lap, the smell of the earth surrounding us in the arms of his flannel shirt.  We would wave to Grandma as we rumbled away, our squeals and laughter drowned by the noise of the monstrous machine. But now, so many years later, the big red tractor sits quietly in the barn.

As I grabbed my jacket and turned to leave, I stopped in the doorway to look back and discovered this. Grandma was there with me that day mingled among the memories. I had found her in the smells of the kitchen, the creak of the rocker, and in the sunshine that danced on the glass doors of her china cabinet.

Together ... and for always ... we would remember.