#19- Our yearly family fishing trips to the Gulf Coast would double as fun metal detecting adventures. I used to have such a blast swinging that machine around and waiting for it to beep. It was a true treasure hunt of today’s age. I never found anything of importance. But my grandpa sure did. I’d find coins and cans and tabs. But he would find gold rings, old coins, and all kinds of cool things. I don’t know how much I actually learned from it. But I do know it’s yet another wonderful memory with my grandfather.
#18- I love that I started in gymnastics when I was 5. This lead to my grandpa buying me a huge trampoline, and me spending most of my adolescent life on that thing. Unlike most, I don’t have a story where I was greatly injured on it. I never injured myself at all on it. Instead, I learned a lot of great tricks and learned how to keep myself entertained. Any time I had a friend over we’d spend all of our time on it. And I’d teach them things, too. It gave me great joy spending time teaching my friends that may not have had a trampoline to jump on cool tricks. And I also know now, that my grandpa always wanted me to have the coolest, up to date toys. And for that, I feel pretty lucky.
#17- Speaking of cool up to date toys, I was bought my first four wheeler when I was five. It was a little red Kawasaki 50, and it was AMAZING. He turned down the choke on it so it wouldn’t run as fast as it should until I got the hang of it. Then he turned it up, and I was blazing around here on that fresh cut grass like a tiny bolt of little red, permed haired lightening. As I grew, he would buy me the appropriate sized four wheeler. And he also got, at one point, a go cart. It was an older go cart without the roll cage. And I rolled it A LOT! So we got rid of that one pretty quick. But we always had the four wheelers.
#16- I used to “cry wolf” a lot. Some of it was from being a normal kiddo. But some of it was feeling the need for attention because I wasn’t getting enough from my mom. If you couldn’t already tell, I was quite the tom boy growing up. I loved to be outside and get my hands on anything I could. I loved to climb this one tree in particular. Of all the thousands of trees on our property, this one was the best. It was right in front where I could be watched out any of the two big bay windows of the front of the house. Anyway- one day I was playing away, just like usual when I got my left ankle caught in between two branches. I was kind of left dangling from that spot with my foot caught, which really didn’t hurt that bad because at six years old, I probably weighed all of 35 pounds on a good day. But when I got myself loose and put some weight on my foot, I knew there was something wrong. I hobbled inside to my grandma and told her I really hurt my foot. And because of my previous nature, she was sympathetic, gave me a kiss and we went on about her business. Later, after I took a shower and got dressed. I was hanging out in her room with her when she looked down and noticed my baseball sized, purple ankle. She shrieked and apologized over and over. The next day I was in a cast. After that day, I didn’t cry wolf one more time. I knew that had I had a believable record, I may have been at the doctor a little sooner. I felt really bad for being that way before. But I made a promise to my tiny self that I’d always take care of myself from that moment on.
#15- I love that we’ve always had all kinds of animals and plenty of room to roam around. I of course always had dogs. You name the breed, I’ve probably had it- know all about it- and could tell you everything. But besides that we’ve had donkeys, flying squirrels, squirrels, a kangaroo rat, rabbits, rattlesnakes, other snakes, ducks, geese, and a pond stocked with fish. This is sort of an obvious one. But all of these had different needs and habits. And it taught me a lot of responsibility. Well as far as taking care of things go. It was a lot of fun experiencing all those different animals. Not to mention all the wild deer, coyote, wolves and prairie dogs that ran around. We would feed and take care of those as much as they’d let us, too. When the wild have an understanding with the tamed and domestic, the land and place becomes a much more peaceful place. So I guess I learned a lot more than responsibility.
#14- I have NO CLUE how we acquired so much change around this house. We all saved our loose money to add to a pool that would become our vacation money at the beginning of August every year. We’d count ALL of it by hand and place it into money rolls and take it to the back to deposit. The better we saved, the more fun we’d have. Well, one year, from one of the estate sales, my grandpa bought a slot machine. Yeah. That’s right. An old fashioned pull lever slot machine. We tried especially hard to save as many quarters as we could to be able to play on it. He went and turned somewhere around $1000.00 in cash into quarters and put them in that machine. I’d sit and play on that thing until I couldn’t hold my eyes open. NOW- gambling is ILLEGAL folks and I’m not advocating it. But this was done from a private game in our own home and it was FUN! But then, when time for vacation rolled around, we had to empty that machine and put all those quarters back into the money rolls and take it right back to the bank for vacation. This, I guess, taught me that fun always has a price. And you can play really hard as long as you always work really hard.
#13- I have a family full of musicians. No one made it to the bigs, but they are extremely talented. Everyone on my grandpa’s side can play at least one instrument, some can play many, sing and dance. Now, I can’t sing, I’m alright at dancing, and I can’t play one instrument to it’s fullest. But I can play the piano by ear, and I know the basic chords to House Of The Rising Sun on an acoustic, and I can play one chord to a song on the Bass. Every year at Christmas, my families most talented would get in a circle with their instrument of choice and play all kinds of songs. I loved this more than anything. It was a sense of togetherness that I couldn’t even describe if I tried. On my grandma’s side, we’d go to her parent’s house very often (the ones who made me the quilt), and when the whole family was together, we’d sign hymns all night. But not in the creepy praise the lord kind of way. It was more of a beer drinkin’, dip spittin’, shit talkin’ between the songs, praise the lord kinda way. And my very favorite of all time was “I’ll Fly Away”. And as I said before, I can’t sing. But I’ll put my vocals up to yours any day when it comes to that song! And now when I hear it, all I think of is those amazing people. Most of them are dead and gone now. But not really. Not when it comes to the memories.