Thursday, July 31, 2014

making memories

It rained yesterday afternoon.
The kind of rain storm that happens
on a hot Houston afternoon.
One minute its sunny, the next minute the clouds roll in.
You've seen this happen I'm sure.
I noticed it getting dark just after lunch
then heard a rumble of thunder
so I went out to the front porch
to move my potted plants out onto the sidewalk
so they'd get a free dose of water.
The wind was blowing and the trees were swaying.
I stood there memorized by mother nature at work.
Then I smelled a familar smell,
one that took me back more than thirty years,
to my grandmother's front porch
when I was a young girl.
She lived alone since my grandfather's passing
 in a big old farmhouse,
the kind with 15 foot tall ceilings in every room.
Each room had at least two doors,
each door leading to another part of the house.
I dont know if all the houses back then were like this,
like a maze in a way,
not like today's homes with a hallway as the main artery.
 I remember every summer night at about dusk
{we'd spend weeks with her every summer,
rotating one girl in, one girl out
so that she wouldn't get overwhelmed}
she'd say it was time to close up the house.
We'd start at the back door in the kitchen
which she'd leave wide open every day...
a beautiful old screen door there to let air in and bugs out.
I'd play outside most days on the back porch with
whatever kitchen gadget she'd let me have...
a old percolator
{look that up if you're a youngin' :)}
that I'd put dirt into followed by water
to make my "coffee" and a heaps of mud
squished into old pie pans for my "food".
She would be cooking in the kitchen
or doing the laundry
{which she'd hang dry on a clothes line}...
After she finished what she needed to do in the kitchen
we'd move up to the {cooler} front of the house for the day
Gosh, what I'd give to have another day like that with her.
Sorry for the sidetrack...
I promise there's a reason for this winding river of a story.
So at night we'd close up the house
from back to front
and each door into each room
had a lock...
so we'd lock the back door
then leave the kitchen, locking that door,
now into the dining room, lock that
then into the living room, then lock that,
you get the drift...
one by one, each with a door,
compartment by compartment,
closing up the house.
Her house didn't have central heating and air.
She had a/c window units in the living room and her bedroom
but she never used them.
Only when she had company.
Otherwise she might sleep with a fan.
A huge fan you only see in antique stores now,
the kind that's on a stand with the wheels
that you'd lean back like furniture on a dolly
when it needed to be moved.
She lived in the Deep South all her days
and it was as hot then as it is now,
so every summer day was a scorcher.
It seems to me now that she did all the kitchen work
in the early morning before it got too hot
and the afternoons were mainly spent on the front porch
{except when she watched her "stories" aka soap operas.
Boy do I remember my mom being so mad
when we'd come home from visiting
and regale her with stories from the soaps!}.
Just like the weather today back then
 hot summer afternoons would bring afternoon showers.
We'd sit on her front porch
in old school wooden green rocking chairs
or on the swing on her porch
where we'd watch the rain come down
and cool everything off that it touched.
I can remember the steam rising up from the road,
the air so thick and humid you'd almost choke.
I also remember the smell of the rain,
mixed with grass and dirt
and whatever it touched as it fell
and washed the world.
And that was what I smelled the other day 
as I stood on my front porch.
I smelled a memory.
I ran inside and yelled for my boys to hurry up and come here.
I bellowed "come see what rain smells like."
"Huh??? What did you say Mom???" came their response.
"Come. Here. Now!" I yelled.
Like a gaggle of geese...
One, two, three.
They all reported in.

As they stood there watching the rain
and listening to the thunder
I told them the story
of sitting on my Grannie's porch in Pavo
and how  if they inhaled and held their breath
they would know a memory of mine
when I was a little girl of their age.
I told them to keep taking deep breaths
so that they could remember the smell
and that one day
they might do the same thing
with their little ones and maybe,
just maybe they'd think of me
and my Grannie who they never met.
My little one didnt really get it.

I thought myself silly for dragging them outside.
Then one by one
 both my twins
 thanked me.
One said..."Hey Mom. Thanks for bringing us out here.
I never knew rain had a smell."
And he kissed my cheek.
And I knew that we'd made a memory.

This was spontaneous.
This hug was not staged...these two are like oil and water.
For now.
It gave me hope that they'll get along one day :)

This may explain alot...

 He's a pistol alright.
And he's a keeper.
I'll try the rain memory making again when he's a bit older.
But at least the twins got it.
 Here's to lazy summer days and
making memories along the way.
Hope you're having a great summer.


  1. Nancy, will you please write a book? Include your childhood and how it affects your raising your own children? So many gems you have.

  2. You're the sweetest and the best Mary Ann! From your lips to God's ears :)


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