The Memory Legacy

We have moved several times and with each move have come boxes and more boxes. Surveying the scene still before me after a couple of years of unpacking and sorting, there is still much work to be done. There are books waiting for bookshelves, an odd assortment of furniture, boxes of papers that need to be gone through as well as toys that the kids have outgrown but I’m not ready to let go of … yet.

Some of you would hardly be able to contain your excitement. You’d rub your hands together, grab trash bags and with great enthusiasm, toss out every stack and box regardless of what it contained. Ah, but the problem is that you don’t see what I see.

Almost everything in our humble home has little monetary value; only sentimental significance. Inside the front door is a used filing cabinet which holds most of over twenty years’ worth of my writing; the cabinet, a recent gift and the first one to store only my writing pieces. My husband uses a desk his parents gave us when the kids were very young and we stayed with them for a few months; a gift even more precious since his dad’s death. Head into the dining room and have a seat at the table, the set, a gift from church friends when they purchased a new one. Hanging by the side door are a couple of my Granny’s tattered aprons; simple reminders of my grandparents’ farm. Inside the kitchen cabinets are gold colored glasses that came in oatmeal boxes when I was a child. Upstairs and downstairs are furniture pieces from friends, old and new. And then there’s the lamp that Mom purchased with green stamps; priceless after she passed away.

Last year, I wrote the following poem after sorting through box after box and the memories they contained.

 

The Memory Legacy

It’s a house of legacy, you see.

Inside these four walls are contained,

years of memories slowly attained.

You see mismatched furniture and projects galore,

I see special gifts from those who walked through our hearts’ doors.

I will not pretend that I don’t occasionally desire,

new matching furniture or fashionable attire.

But here, within these walls,

hand-me-downs reign,

as my heart remembers each story they contain.

Residing in many different towns,

these belongings have traveled some ground.

The walls are adorned with maps and charts,

family pictures and pieces of unmatched art.

You see a pile,

a heap to be conquered.

I see the memories,

to be savored;

not forgotten.

By Delores Brouillette Adams

 

Words like sentimentality and reminisce apply to my state of mind when it comes to these items. I don’t worship them; they are not idols. But each serves as a memorial, helping me remember a person, a season of life, or a place that represents something precious to our family. So, scoff if you will and laugh if you must. But as I walk through each room, I am constantly reminded of loved ones and what the Lord hath done. Absolutely priceless.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. (Psalms 20:7 NKJV)

Advertisements

Sand Bucket Memories

Sand Bucket Blog photo

Over the past few months, I have had some wonderful conversations with a dear friend’s Grandma.  Laughing and sharing stories about farm life, listening to her no-nonsense approach to life, and farming tips like how to grow an apple tree simply from the seeds of an old apple core have warmed my heart.  It has brought back sweet memories of my own Granny.  Here’s a piece, originally written as a poem many years ago, about one particular childhood memory.

SAND BUCKET MEMORIES

These days, audiences of all ages are entertained by various electronic devices. Video games, movies, music and even books are played, viewed, listened to and read via laptops, cell phones, digital players, and e-book readers.

Childhood play did not always involve such high-tech gadgets. Once upon a time, youthful joy came from fresh air, inexpensive tools, and simple outdoor fun.

As a young girl, I visited my grandparents’ farm in Virginia on many occasions. Cattle grazed in the pastures and chickens roamed freely just outside the hen house. Granny clucked at the chicks as she doled out feed corn from her apron pockets.

With thirteen children and numerous grandchildren, family members visited often. She always insisted on feeding her guests; hungry or not. No one could make homemade bread and fried eggs like my Granny.

Relatives often stopped at the farm entrance to pick up mail from the family mail boxes. On one particular visit, we grandchildren walked with Grandpa to go get the mail. Each of us took turns carrying an empty five-gallon bucket which constantly banged against our legs. We skipped, ran, jumped, and walked beside Grandpa as we followed their country lane through the pine trees, past the clearing, and around the corner by the big oak tree. Opening and shutting creaky, metal gates and maneuvering our way over uneven river rocks was quite an adventure. We enjoyed our walk, asking a thousand questions. Grandpa’s answers matched his slow sauntering pace. When we dawdled, he’d remind us of the reward that would soon fill our bucket. Huge grasshoppers jumped across our path, frightening us city girls with their speed and power. Butterflies fluttered from one place to the next while bumble bees buzzed all around. We stopped occasionally to pick roses, black-eyed Susans, daisies, and wild strawberries found growing alongside the road. The cows stared at us, chewing methodically; their tails swatting at flies. Grandpa assured us that we were safe from the bull as long as we stayed close beside him.

After retrieving the mail, we headed back to the house. Along the way, we stopped where the road rocks gave way to sparkling white sand. It was powdery and slipped right through our fingers. Grandpa shoveled the sand into our bucket and carried it back to the yard for us. He went quietly into the house to take a hard-earned nap; having satisfied both grandchildren and adults.

Our parents primed the hand water pump just outside the front door. The smallest grandchild caught a short ride, hanging onto the metal handle as it went up and down. Ice cold water gushed out; full of red iron flakes. It was perfect for homemade mud pies. Acorns were gathered from the base of the oak tree (our hidden stash from previous visits to help the squirrels’ through their next hard winter). Using Granny’s old metal forks and spoons, we dug up the rich dirt; mixing in the hot sand, water, and acorns. We poured our concoction into discarded pie tins and rusty baking pans; mimicking Granny’s bread making. Fancy swirls were made on top with our magical sand frosting. Once our pies and cakes baked in the sun, we begged our parents to come see our creations. Before long, the creamy mud and tiny jewels lost their charm. The sand no longer glittered and gone was the desire to feel the cold soil move through our fingers and toes.

We battled huge flying insects, endured the sun’s heat, and journeyed that long distance with an old plastic farm bucket in tow … all for pure, white sand and a few precious moments with Grandpa.

Things have changed since those days of innocence. Grandpa and Granny are gone now as well as the original farm house and buildings. The farm has been divided between family generations and it makes me sad to see the farm split up by so many property boundaries. But I am grateful that when we visit, my children and I can still take long walks. I think of a time when childhood play required imagination, sand buckets, and mud pies; not high-tech equipment.

Painful Anniversaries

Various Pictures of our family and Dan's family 277

As the summer season and its suffocating heat fade, my soul seems to come alive.  Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  What’s not to love?  The mountains burst forth with color; reds, oranges, and yellows mixed with the evergreens.  Leaves begin to fall and there is something exhilarating about the sound of crunching leaves underfoot.  The temperatures begin to drop; resulting in glorious crisp air in the mornings and evenings.  The morning mist lingers near the ground before disappearing with the sun’s warmth.  Deer venture out, sticking close to the edge of the forest.  In the country, the scents from wood burning stoves and fireplaces hang in the air.  In late fall, camouflage becomes the fashionable clothing of choice along with orange hats and vests as hunting season begins.

After one last curtain call of color, the leaves shrivel up and turn that ugly brown.  Leaves on the ground are soggy; providing a covering for the soil underneath.  The trees’ branches are bare, exposed but the trees are not dead. They are simply conserving nutrients; resting until spring when they will once again show new life. Crops are gathered and harvested.  Animals grow heavier coats.  All of these events signal the end of one season and beginning of another.

This is also the time of year that I, along with others, must face many painful anniversaries.

Most of us have them.  You know the ones; those heart-rending dates that loom ahead on the calendar.  We strive to remember, to never forget a loved one. We may try to blot out (but can’t) that heartbreak or event that forever changed our lives or someone else’s.

What do we do with those kinds of anniversaries?  How do we get beyond the deep sorrow and move toward the joy of spring and new life?

There are documented scientific reasons to explain seasonal changes.  But when it comes to losing a loved one, there is no earthly explanation that can soothe my hurting soul.  I have no textbook answer as to why one person lives a long life and another is taken away in their youth. Nor do I understand why disease claims the life of one yet leaves another untouched.  But I do know that these losses and other tragedies are a part of this life.  I trust that God has a purpose and a reason, even if I am never able to see good come of it.

Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Psalm 62:8

Each year when these painful anniversary dates come and go, there is always a time of reflection, of soul searching, and a letting go of emotions … yet again.

But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD…   Psalm 73:28

Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.  Psalm 143:11

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3

Then I prayerfully and purposefully dwell on joyful memories of laughter and family gatherings.  I breathe in deeply of the crisp air and enjoy the sights and smells of fall.  I rejoice because somehow, even after deep sorrow, God once again reminds me how to smile.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD…  Psalm 27:13