If life is a highway, and according to Rascal Flatts it is, then today I took a trip backwards down memory lane.
Someone once said, “A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.”
I would have to agree with that quote as today I visited a place where so many memories entrenched in the recesses of my mind sprang back to life. After church, hubby and I decided to follow a ribbon of highway and see where it led us.
We traveled to the north country, where it’s even more rural than our area and the woods are thick and cool. A distinct woodsy smell permeates the air there, a smell I can’t describe in words, but my mind identifies and remembers.
Our travels transported us down a narrow country lane where many of my childhood days transpired. From the time I was about 10 until just a few years ago, my parents owned a “camp” on a wooded lot near a national forest that runs through our state. Our family spent many weekends there and sometimes a week at a time in the summers. Relatives owned the camp next door and our families celebrated lively and entertaining times together.
When I was a child I reveled in this “home away from home,” but later in my teen-age years, the lure of Friday night high school football games, school dances, and going out with friends overshadowed my enthusiasm for going to camp for the weekend.
Today though as hubby and I drove down that familiar country road, I regaled tales to him about those forever memories, my memories, of camp.
See, right here was where girlhood friends and I would sit on a wooden plank bridge dreaming of our futures and giggling about cute boys while we competed to see who could hurl stones farther into the creek and make the biggest splash. The wooden plank bridge is long gone, but the memory lives on.
And right there in that thick of woods was a lane that invitingly enticed us to follow until we arrived at a wider stretch of the creek, babbling on its merry way. There were huge rocks that we would climb and sun ourselves on and then when it became too hot in the afternoon sun, we’d shirk our socks and Keds and wade into the cold, rushing water. The lane is gone, a very faint path remains, but the memory lives on.
And there! That was the old farm where the owner granted us permission to climb up into his old tree house nestled in a stately oak tree. As we were ascending up the rickety ladder, a swarm of bees descended on us like a plague and we ran screaming and swatting the air as we flew like lightning out of there. All four of us were stung and crying like crazy. The farm looks abandoned now, the treehouse surely destroyed, but the memory lives on.
And right here at this house, where our playmate/local girl lived all year round, is where we sought comfort from our bee stings. Her mother soothed those nasty bee bites with Listerine mouthwash. And back we ventured to explore some more, but never to that treehouse again! The house remains, but looks quite different now and somehow smaller, but the memory lives on.
Oh, these fields are where my girlfriend and I rode, trotting and cantering, her ponies, Bonnie and Blondie. We pretended we were cowgirls blazing trails on our trusty steeds and right there stood the barn where we would unsaddle the ponies and give them hay to eat. No signs of the barn remain, but the memory lives on.
Someone I know now owns our old camp, so I didn’t feel like we were trespassing when we parked our car in the driveway and walked around the yard. Back in my childhood days, the remnants of coal strip mining were behind the camp. My friends and I enacted numerous pretend adventures on those mounds of shale. One day we were desert explorers, desperate to find water. Another time we were treasure hunters. The no longer visible mounds are covered over with dense underbrush and trees now, but the memory lives on.
Hubby and I continued weaving around the country roads noticing changes here and there. We stopped at what once was an old country general store, where I loved to go with my parents and pick penny candy out of a large candy counter. Today it is an antique gift shop/post office but as soon as I walked inside I noticed the wooden plank floor. Still the same floor, the lady behind the counter assured me. Not the same store, but the memory lives on.
We traveled on to a nearby state park and then veered off to a different route back home, stopping to view some lovely sights along the way including this one below.
Our meandering occupied our entire afternoon and our journey was complete when we stopped for an ice cream dinner. Yep, when you live in the empty nest and you don’t have to cook for the family, you can eat banana splits and grasshopper sundaes for dinner!
This day was filled with memories, but on our way back home, another thought became apparent to me. Today hubby and I constructed more enjoyable memories together.
“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” ~Anonymous