The last time we went to the park, I asked for a detour on the way home. It would not take long to visit the past, I thought. So we drove down a country road where nothing looked familiar but the railroad tracks that ran alongside. The end of the road and a sharp turn left and instead of waterside cottages of the past, modern three story floodplain compliant homes confused us as we drove slowly down streets with only familiar names. Finally we saw it.
The tiny house with the separate summer kitchen shadowed by trees I hardly remember.
I remember countless hours splashing about in the river on summer days, long bamboo fishing poles, crabbing from a boat, blankets spread for reading in shade, chatting with cousins and aunts and uncles and the smoke of grilling burgers and hotdogs. There was freedom to run into the cool of the summer kitchen in wet bathing suits dripping on the concrete floor. Adults chatted late in the night while we chased fireflies and then dragged reluctant feet for the long ride home.
We grew up and brought our own young ones to play and enjoy the river. I could see and hear it all in the few minutes I leaned over the fence and breathed the air and captured this scene. The power of memory!
Like my Grandfather, we can hope to build a space in time for future generations to dream and create memories of laughter and family. It doesn’t have to be a cottage on a river; so many more memories came from simple city rowhouses and suburban back yards and porches. The important thing is to make time and space for those we love, isn’t it?