If only it would have rained yesterday, it would have been my perfect kind of day. It was beautifully overcast and at times the sky threatened to bestow the earth with it's tears but alas, it never came through. I went to visit my parents in the afternoon. Someone was mowing out back as I made my way across the front lawn and through the door. The house was quiet and dark as I made my way through the rooms looking for my mom. I glanced into my old room and then into my parents, followed by the room that Marcos and Mario can both now claim. The sheets were off all the beds and I smiled. It's amazing that little things, like sheets off a bed, have the power to bring back whole years of a person's life. I was hit with such emotion that I was a child again.
There was music blaring in the background of this memory, a collage of memories I guess you could say. Kenny Loggins was king for many years in the Chard home and so it was that his music rang out to all of Peterson welcoming them to partake of Kenny "in the Redwoods". I could hear my mother calling from the laundry room for all of us kids to bring down our sheets and open the windows in our rooms so that we could air out the house. A young Mario and Marcos walk pass my room with their arms filled to above their heads with Ninja Turtle sheets for Marcos and demure, proper solid maroon for Mario. They are laughing at some secret joke they always seemed to be sharing. The door with the red bell slams shut as Gabby enters and it shakes the whole house. He's singing along to Kenny and I can hear him go downstairs. The same bell signals three more times that someone was on the move. Poor door. Someone was always slamming it shut.
The memory then fades away slowly, like the dust that can be seen falling to the ground in just the right sunlight, and it's darker again as I stand at the top of the stairs. I slowly descend and my heart is left aching and longing for childhood. The house is quieter now. The red bell on the door welcomes or says goodbye less often. I happen to believe that in the exact moment that I was longing for childhood, it was longing right along with me. Memories can often become tricky chameleons who change to fit the scenery of my mood but yesterday they allowed me to glance back in my past and realize how good I did have it.
It was nice to visit with my parents and to realize that while life changes for all of us, there is something about a small log cabin in Peterson that will always be mine. I stopped at Hinds on my way out and was forced to face another loss of childhood - their ice cream machine has made it's last cone. I can't even conceive of a world with no Hinds ice cream. May, the usual month in which it made it's grand entrance, could never come soon enough as September's arrival, the dreaded month which dimmed the lights on the coveted ice cream, was always seen as too soon. It now seems like the five month window I once had into my childhood has been replaced with a zero month window. Like the poet Karon Yan once said,
"Childhood is rare
Unlike a bear
Childhood is fun
Unlike eating a bun . . ."
Ahh, yes, I couldn't have said it better myself. Brilliant, no?