Friday, June 29, 2012

The March

It's been interesting, this summer, to be home a ton more than usual.  Usually we stay gone for a good chunk of time to spend in Oklahoma, but since my Mom's in a bit of limbo right now and isn't in my hometown anymore, we're enjoying our house all summer for the first time.

To tell the truth, this is probably the most I've been home for the summer my entire life.

As you learned in one of my very first posts, home has been a rather elusive thing for me.  If you'd like to catch up on that post, click here.  I wrote that after we lost my Nanny, and inexplicably important person.  In it you see that every summer, as far back as I can remember, the end of school meant packing bags and heading out.  When I was in late grade school through college, a large chunk of the summer if not all was spent in Fort Scott, Kansas with my father and stepmother.  That experience, my friends, is a whole other blog... or as a friend of my Mom's used to say, a whole other Geraldo.

Hands down, the best summers were spent on Morris Creek Road.  All three of my kids got at least part of a summer there, crawling out of bed to pancakes and playing on the green breakfast room carpet while the adults drank coffee and visited, laughed, planned, and shared.  Some of my earliest good memories came from there.  My favorite times in life as a kid revolved around these people.   The smell of bacon, coffee, and a hot griddle were mornings on the hill.  In the summer, the cantaloupe sliced in long, thin curves on square Tupperware plates accompanied our coffee... as well as the cries of "eew" as the older in the crew sprinkled their melon with salt and pepper.  I could get into the salt part, but not the pepper!

As a kid, we weren't always at the breakfast room table.  Often we were out camping at one of the beautiful lakes in Oklahoma and Arkansas.  As a child I spent countless (yet somehow not enough) days spent swimming in the lake with Grandad and sitting among the ladies between the trailers with my Cabbage Patch Kids lacing cards, pretending to crochet or knit like them.  I even had my own "Crystal-sized" lawn chair.  I remember... and someone please tell me you do too... feeding the baby goats with a bottle at Queen Whilemena.  That was my favorite place to camp.  They also had a train you could ride, and an old steam engine and coal box and an old army tank that we crawled all over!  They were black, so they were hot... but who cared?  And oh, did I ever skin my knees up there one evening!  I decided that one of those lacing cards would make a great kite, and ran down one of the roads, downhill, and wound up wiping out on the hot asphalt.

At home, I always had a little wading pool for splashing, and some little boats and things to play with.  Once it was dark, we'd go in the house and have dinner and sometimes Pepsi floats in the den with red and orange shag carpet (man, did I lose a lot of Barbie shoes in that carpet) while we watched all the old nighttime shows.  I watched JR (I know, it was Dallas, but I called it JR), Falcon Crest, and Knots Landing to name a few from the comfort of my inflatable little girl chair.

Evening time on the hill was, and I imagine still is, amazing.  It gets a little cooler, and the cicadas sing as the sun sinks behind the west side of town.  The KCS engines cry out their warnings to the drivers all hours of the day and night as they thunder through town, often stopping to refuel or switch.  The train sounds are still comforting to me; that's what home sounds like.   The air is cooler up on the Runestone, where I loved to play in the evenings, and took my sister and cousin to play later.

There is so much of that stuff I want to share with my kids.  I loved those times so much.  What a great place and way to be a kid.  Those people, those times around the breakfast table at Nanny's remained my favorite thing in life even when most kids would rather have been anywhere else, and through college, right up to the times when Nanny couldn't remember where she kept things in the kitchen anymore.  The last meal I cooked in that kitchen was the Thanksgiving a week after we lost Nanny, with Grandad sitting at the breakfast table knowing that it was okay that I was there, but not knowing who in the world I was.  I did okay... not great... but lost it when one of my pies came out perfectly.  Gorgeous meringue.  Toasted just right, with little bits of toasted coconut here and there.  The desire to hear her say "good girl" came out in choking sobs.  I so wanted to hear her say those two words like she always did.

Recently I've seen so many times and in so many ways that God didn't take away those times.  He didn't take away what I enjoyed.  People enter and leave our lives for various reasons.  Suffering and loss is a part of living in a fallen world.  We cannot freeze time.  It marches on, but not just trampling everything in its path like a tank.  If we will let it, time guides and reminds, teaches and reproaches when accompanied with a heart desiring to get to know the nature of its Creator.  If we refuse this lesson, it will run flat over us.  Kick and scream and cry all you want, but the gears keep turning and the world keeps spinning.

Not too long ago, I sat at the kitchen table with my newer family north of Dallas.  It was Saturday morning, the kids had finished their food, and the coffee flowed almost as freely as the puns.  Along with the laughter came theological discussion, learning, sharing, and intermittent snuggles with the kids.    In between stories and in a lull of the giggles, it dawned on me.

This is it.  This is my favorite thing.  God didn't take it away!  He simply moved it.

And some of those old favorite people are still around.  Some are younger than I am, and some are older.  The times we can get together are fewer and farther between, but oh are they sweet!  And now I've received the gift of a summer at home with my kids.  While most of the things we do are different, the idea is still there.  We're together, we're making memories, we're enjoying our time.

Thanks be to God for those with whom I share the march of time!


  1. I remember the petting zoo at Queen Whilemena, Crystal. I also remember my Granny that Lorelai's middle name came from taking me to see the peacocks at Cedar Lake.

    1. I am so glad! I loved that place. The best part was feeding those baby goats with a coke bottle! Hmm, maybe that's where this mommy thing got started!


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