Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Swing Ride

I wish all the time that I could go back in time to grab pictures from my life that I wish had been taken. I have these scenarios in my head - some of them memories, and others simply vignettes of life as I wish it had played itself out. One such photo that I'd loved to hold in my hand to pore over time and time again would be one of my grandma and me on her back porch swing, she cutting a ripe peach into slices for us both. Actually, it's not so much desiring the photo itself that I long for, but to go back to that moment as I remember it frozen in time - a summer afternoon like any other except for my memory of her and me swinging back and forth slowly and eating that peach one patient slice at a time as if life would last forever and there was nowhere we needed to be but right then and there to create that memory that would last me a lifetime.

It was a ride on a similar swing last evening that brought back the crystal clear memory of that moment from my childhood - no doubt from when I was even too young to be in school. I never ride in a wooden slat swing on chains without remembering Grandma and that peach and wishing that she and I could do it all over again. The older I get the more and more I wish I could go back to such simple times and places as those in which I grew up. As I find so often, the scenes I want to revisit aren't by any objective standard special. They're plain. Simple. Nobody except myself would understand what about them remains so precious years and years later, and sometimes, like right now, even I couldn't explain why they stand out as they do in my heart.

I was my grandma's favorite. I was her first grandchild. She never took me anywhere fantastic nor did I share with her even a single moment that anybody on the outside looking in might think of as something that would stand out as significant. Yet, my memories of the times I spent with her, doing the simplest of things, are among the best I have of growing up and becoming who I grew up to be.

I don't remember the email that ends with the end of somebody's life in which he exclaims right before checking out, "That was one hell of a ride," but I'd like to think that Grandma left us thinking just that. I hope she loved her life as much as she loved me and that the first thing she said to our God when she met Him face to face was, "Thank You," for having created her and given her the life she shared with all of us. If I were to clutch my chest at the end of this sentence and find myself on the other side of life, that's the first thing I'd say to Him for having blessed me with the life I've had - a life in which the memory of eating a single peach with somebody who loved me could stand out as something almost sacred.

For now, I'll keep riding for as long as He allows - on swings, on wheels, on life itself, and I'll keep making memories of being loved in the most simple of life's places and times. And at the end I'll want to make a photo album if He'll let me, on the other side. One that I can take to Him, sit on His lap and point to each of the pictures, and say, "Thank You for that, and that, and that!" If I'm really lucky, He'll slice us a peach, and grandma will be there too, and we'll all be on the neatest back porch swing ever made.

The last picture taken of grandma and me. Three months later she left us.


Anonymous said...

I love the scooter blog. Makes my day sometimes. Fantastic post.

Doug K. said...

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming..."Wow! What a ride!"

Some variations on that out there, some more profane than others.

Your post brings back memories of my own childhood. For me it was my family driving into the dirt yard in front of my grandparents house and grandma walking out onto the white painted porch, the wooden screen door slamming shut behind her with a bounce as she said in her Oklahoma accent "Well, howww dee dooo!" A small moment, a treasured memory.


kz1000st said...

You might have seen the quote in Earlwb's signature in Scootdawg. I often wondered where he got it from, now I know.

Joe said...

Joe, I'm glad you're here to be a part of this new chapter. I like where I'm at.

Doug, that's the quote I was thinking about! Thanks!