Yesterday was a beautiful day. I made plans to take two of my grandchildren to Bowie Park in Fairview after school and work. Excitement filled the air with my 3 year old grandson's chatter as we loaded in the car and began our 10 minute drive. My 11 year old said, "Ok Austin, you can be quiet now, you're giving me headache". Then the argument started. Austin says "No Jon, you're giving me a headache and headaches are not fun! You be quiet Jon". My husband was doing everything in his power to urge them to stop arguing. As I was driving, I was listening and waiting for common call, "Granny, will you do something, please?" I told Austin we were almost to the park and ask him look out the window and let us know when he could see the park. He did, quietly.
What seemed liked already a 20 minutes drive and only half way there I was relieved for the sound of peace for the rest of the ride. I realized a call I needed to return and instantly call my client for a very short conversation. Then the statement from the mouth of a child which caused me to reflect and consequently begin writing. "Granny you're always out working or on the phone working. You work all the time."
Today is very different than when I was growing up. When I was young there were still many families that had one stay at home parent and almost always a grandparent that was not working. In many cases today it takes both parents working to live with grandparents working to a much older age. We still had party lines so you didn't even have a home phone for your private use much less cell phones and the world wide web! Do the adults of today think memories are made during week long vacations once or twice a year? Are the needs of children really that much different day than in my day? Our vacations were traveling from Ohio to Tennessee to visit my grandparents. Today vacations are trips to places where you stay in hotels full of activities all day long while dining out every night.
Let me share some of my most precious childhood memories. Riding down Hwy 54 with much anticipation as I stared out my window to spot the row of pine trees then grandparent's house after the drive from Ohio to Tennessee. Arriving at the most beautiful court house in Tennessee to see Santa Clause just before the Christmas parade started in Trenton, TN. Going to the Frog Jump store with my cousins and granddaddy where several old men sat around talking or playing dominos smoking their pipes. My granddaddy would give us all a quarter which would buy a Dr. Pepper and bag of candy. We thought he was one more rich man. We ran around outside aggravating the old men, sometimes squirting them with water guns as my granddaddy would say "you better stop, he's fixing to get you". And sure enough one would come off his seat to come after us. We would scream and laugh as we ran from him. All the other old men would laugh and say not to your hurt those kids. Playing kick the can with my cousins. Riding Honda 50s to the swimming pool, in our swim suits without helmets. (No helmet law back then). Getting the horses ready with my granddaddy then going to the Frog Jump horse show three times a week. Conversations while working my tail off in the garden every morning at 6am during the summer. Then spending the rest of the morning sitting under big shade trees breaking or shelling beans or shucking and cleaning corn. Making homemade ice cream. Climbing trees and swinging from ropes. The first time my mother put on a pair of pants (before that she always had worn dresses)Learning to drive a tractor. My oldest brother playing Superman and Lois Lane with me when mother was at work. He jumped to fly through the air and broke the bed. My granddaddy who never drove over 30 miles an hour would occasionally floor the accelerator to hear my grandmother yell out Walter! We would all laugh as he said you have to do that every once in a while to clean out the soot with a big grin on his precious face. My grandmother lining all her grandchildren up to whip us with a limb because we were picking her flowers. (Today that would be child abuse, lol) Everyone would fight to get to the end of the line thinking she would get tired then fight to get back to the front after seeing her get madder with each swing. And her cooking breakfast, dinner and supper as they called it back then. My granddaddy pouring his coffee into a saucer to sip or me drinking tea from his glass because it just tasted better than mine. I have too many great memories to write in a blog. As simple as those memories seem, I can't hold back from just smiling really big as I write. These memories are better than any vacation I have ever taken. And believe me; I have had some great vacations.
So when do the most cherishing and lasting memories happen in life?
My family worked hard all day long everyday as the men farmed and the women worked in sewing factories and retail stores. I never thought about how much or how longed the adults worked. I just knew they had to work. But I think it is the time when it is just us, family, when the most cherishing memories become. Has the day of cell phones and computers caused us to think work is 24 hours a day creating family time as a secondary and not as important time?
To answer my own question, I believe we have to go back to the times when family was really more important than anything or anyone else. When we worked to live; not live to work. It's time to cut off our cell phones, shut down our computers and begin building lives of cherished memories that will be handed down to generations to come.