I am still struggling with the loss of our mother in April so please be patient with me. I repost stories that she liked in her memory. hug B
The potential possibilities of any child are
The potential possibilities of any child are
the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.
Ray Lyman Wilbur
In the little village where I grew up there is a creek that runs through the middle of the town. There was a beautiful dam known to the locals as the Mill Dam which is now sadly reduced to four decaying pillars of cement. Water trickling, where once the water was deep and rushing fast over the top of the wooden dam, for the enjoyment of every kid in this little village. The creek made its way to an old mill where baskets and dreams were once made. Life; much like this view has changed greatly for this girl on this little trip down memory lane. Many a memory was made here and I return to this special spot often to relive and to not forget, it gives me great comfort.
My Mom would shout “Time to go” we all knew what that meant, the tattered old towels were hung on our arms or wrapped around our necks, the huge bottle of egg shampoo which actually did look like raw eggs in a bottle was held by someone and that always present secret family recipe concoction in a bottle which may be called sunscreen now-a-days or as I now call it sunburn in a bottle was carried by Mom. I will share this family recipe with you but be warned do not use it unless you want to have orange streaks, red blistered skin and want to remain as slippery as a fish even after a whole day of swimming but still smell wonderful.
Here it is, ready or not ……one bottle of sweet smelling baby oil in a clear plastic bottle with a few drops of iodine that dripped from the glass stopper pulled out of that little brown bottle and then just give it a good shake. Now you have it. Simple and I am thinking very cheap at that time.
After a summer of this secret family recipe lathered every day on exposed skin, and after weeks of burning, blistered painful skin which would peel for weeks you would ultimately be left with a nice skin tone, as brown as the bottle that the iodine came in. Well except for the constant peeling noses and patches of white that would never tan because you were now, after all that peeling down to the first baby skin you entered this world in.
We would all walk down through the village on the sidewalk the older children holding the hands of the younger ones so they would not run out into the heavy traffic, that was constantly moving along the busy highway which also runs through the middle of the little village where I grew up. The excitement which involved shouting, laughing and squealing with delight children no doubt being heard and possibly enjoyed but maybe not by all the people of the village living in the houses lining the street where they sat in their rooms with the windows wide open trying to catch the cool breeze that was blowing on those extremely hot days. I do still think some would be thinking, There they go again, look at them, yes we were the ones everyone would envy, no doubt about that.
We made our way down to a special spot on the creek crossing the highway away from the Mill Dam and closer to the Mill where the water was not too deep so the little ones would be able to sit and the water rushed fast enough to keep the older children distracted with games of splashing and chasing while keeping everyone safe; ten kids and one always exhausted Mom.
This playing/bathing ritual was played out over and over most every day of the summer and as I sit here this sunny hot summer day today I remember that splashing, that screaming, that laughter and the same sense of security and love that still remains to this day. I also remember looking over and watching my Mom with her smiling face and a profound look of peace as though the pressures of raising those ten kids in an old crowded house without a lot of money was forgotten in this special place.
The smells are still as remembered; that smell of wet seaweed with just a hint of fish, the somewhat familiar sound of rushing but sadly now trickling water. I watch as a Goldfinch hangs upside down on a Purple Loosestrife plant which had pushed its way through a crack in the hunk of limestone and survived after making its way through the hard stuff never doubting that it would make it.
There are no longer those sounds of laughter or screaming sounds of glee, no sounds of splashing and running wet feet on limestone rock. There are no smells of baby oil and egg shampoo and there was no exhausted Mom sitting on the limestone fossil rock on an old tattered towel with a peaceful look and smile on her face.
There is now only a lone woman with a camera and a pen and paper, with a head full of memories sitting on a hunk of fossil filled limestone without, a wish she had tattered towel. A woman who to this day still has a lot of those same resulting sunscreen freckles, with a smile on her face and a contentment and peace in her heart trying so very hard to hold tight to the memories of those now long gone times.