Sweet memories, sweet distraction

Published 1:08 am Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sometimes, I cannot help myself. My grandparents’ farm calls me, and I go.

Such was the case Thursday as I drove Hwy. 55 between Florala and Andalusia. Like the Sirens calling to sailors, I heard the voice of sweet memory call. I didn’t have time, really, but I turned down the gravel road anyway.

It’s been maybe 20 years since they retired from the farm and moved to town, and they’ve long since gone on to their reward. There’s not much, really, to see at the farm.

Unless when you look at an ever-shrinking farmhouse, you can still feel the warmth of the kitchen on a chilly day, remember the family meals at the long dining room table, and hear the laughter there.

Unless you see a pecan orchard, and remember fall days spent playing there while the grown-ups picked up pecans.

Unless you still know the exact spot of the now overgrown path the grown-ups took when coerced to take children on a walk through the colorful fall woods.

And unless, as you start to leave, you look toward what’s left of that farmhouse and can still see your grandmother waving goodbye at the end of a happy day on the farm.

It was there that I parked my vehicle and sent an email to my Aunt Linetta. I knew she’d understand.

I am stopped in front of the farmhouse, because it was calling as I drove down Hwy. 55 …. Thinking of happy, happy days and feeling teary-eyed and sentimental. I think I am acting like YOU!

We are made of mostly the same genetic stuff, my aunt and I. We love Southern literature, family gatherings, and farm-fresh vegetables. We prefer earthy, hand-thrown pottery to silver and china. And we can both be hopelessly sentimental.

Moments later, she wrote back.

Oh, Michele, I can see it so well, and I feel teary-eyed just THINKING about it. I can visualize you sitting there gazing at the old dilapidated house with the rusting tin roof and remembering all of the wonderful times we had there. My heart is full of nostalgia.

The conversation turned to Thanksgiving, and I thanked her for making the memories special. She added a few more  memories.

I loved those family gatherings; Thanksgiving was indeed one of the best. The weather was usually warm and sunny, the leaves were turning and crunchy underfoot, and the treks through the woods were great. I get more nostalgic around Thanksgiving; it’s just a wonderful family time, and there wasn’t the distraction of all the Christmas doings. I love those too, but it’s different.

People change. Places change. Traditions fade. Thankfully, sweet memories call us back to special times and places.