warmth and nostalgia.

Nostalgic feelings come easily at Grandma’s house. The “kid” guestroom, my home for the next few days, holds so many memories by itself, and then we venture out to the rest of the house where the memories come like a flood.
I’m about 15, sitting out on the sidewalk in front of their house with a book. I’m trying to get a tan because this is spring break, and that’s what’s supposed to happen when you go somewhere on spring break. As I read my book and sweat – because it really is too hot and humid to be comfortable outside – I start thinking I hear music. Really intense orchestral music. Maybe even opera. But I’m sitting outside by the hydrangeas, and as far as I know, those don’t sing. The neighbors aren’t close enough, and the doors to their brick houses aren’t open to allow sound to come out. I got up and walked towards the garage, and it got louder.
Completely befuddled, I went inside, and opened the door to the garage. There’s my Granddaddy, peddling away on the stationary bike, with classical music playing loudly in the background.
Around that same age, I’m sitting in Granddaddy office, admiring my Grandma’s paintings and his photographs that line the walls. I ask about each one, and he tells me each of their stories. He tells me his story. Behind me, there are books stacked and arranged on the bookshelf that is far past maximum capacity. And in front of me is the man who had read them all. Not just read, digested. And so I soak in every word he says, because this is one wise man in front of me.
I’m 16, visiting Grandma after a family reunion at our cabin in Colorado. I’m sitting in Granddaddy’s office, alone this time. I slip a poem into his desk drawer and try to fix a computer problem for Grandma. The glass of grape juice on the desk reminds me of how Granddaddy and I used to get hungry in between meals and snack on pretzels and grape juice together. This time at Grandma’s house, I’ve got a sore throat and the started of a bad cold, so she brings me a tray with my favorite peach tea and honey on it while I sit in Granddaddy’s favorite napping recliner. There’s no place like Grandma’s house when you’re sick.
Or well.
And when you’re five and Grandma and Granddaddy happen to live near a pond, and they let you and your sister use the blue Mickey mouse fishing pole to catch little fish using corn as bait since you’re too squeamish to touch worms, life is good.
And when you can still feel the warmth of those memories after 10 years, life is very good.

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