I've written before about my Grandparents and what they have taught me. I've also written about spending my summers at their house and the friends that I have made in this small Louisiana town. I have never shared about their yard...about the outside of their home.
Their house sits on the corner of two dead end streets. Before the new access road was built a cotton gin was at the end of one street. After the cotton was processed huge trucks would haul the cotton out of town leaving behind little boles of cotton on the side of the road in front of their house. Some days it looked like snow. At the end of the other road was my summer friend, Sarah Calvert. When I visited we were joined at the hip.
My Grandparents had the perfect yard for hide-and-go-seek with two big live oak trees in the front, two magnolia trees in the side yard, and one very productive pecan tree in the back. I remember countless summer days spent climbing those two magnolia trees with my friend Sarah sharing our deepest childhood secrets. You felt like you were far away at the top of those trees when you were actually about twenty yards from the house.
One summer it rained. It rained and rained and rained. I didn't think we would ever get to go outside and play. Finally the sun came out and my Papa said, "Girls, get your swimsuits on...we're going swimming!" My sister and I jumped up and put our suits on and followed him out the back door. Sarah and her brothers were waiting for us in the driveway. Papa marched us to the front yard and pointed to the swollen ditch. Sarah's brothers jumped in and we all followed. We were muddy and covered in grass and we were the five happiest kids in town. My grandfather waded into the ditch and laughed along with us. At one point he reached down into the water with both hands and pulled out the largest bullfrog that I had ever seen! That was the first and only time that I swam in rainwater and it was amazing.
There were many hot summer days spent running around and just being little girls. I wouldn't think of going inside for a drink. We would just turn on the outdoor spigot and drink water straight from the tap. Under the spigot was the strangest rock that I had ever seen. It had several perfectly round craters all over it and one perfect hole in the middle. I always thought this was the most fascinating rock that I had ever seen. My dad told me that every winter my grandparents would leave the outdoor spigot on a drip so the pipes didn't freeze. They put the rock under it so the water didn't drill a hole into the ground. After many years of drips a crater would form on the rock and then they would turn the rock to form a new divot. I guess one year they didn't move it soon enough and a hole formed.
A few years ago my grandfather passed away. My mother and grandmother had to make a tough decision. Stay or go? Just this past December my grandmother moved away from Louisiana. She moved into a beautiful retirement home in North Carolina near my parents. She is happy but misses her home and her friends. I am happy that I get to see her about every month instead of only during the summertime.
When my parents were at her house moving her belongs I received a text from my summer friend. Sarah sent a picture of a moving van in my Mimi's driveway with the caption, "Will I ever get to see you again?" All of the summer memories came pouring back. I'm not much of a tree climber now, but my boys have climbed those same trees. Sarah and I haven't been swimming in ditches, but we have watched our children swim in her pool and become friends themselves. And I just knew that the strange rock would be a mystery to whoever lives in that corner house next.
On Mother's Day we gathered at my parents house. Three generations of mothers. We sat around and opened our Mother's Day gifts and homemade cards from the boys. My grandmother and mom got flowers. . I unexpectedly got a big white box and I cried when I opened it. I got a little piece of my childhood summers. I got a little piece of their house. I got the rock.