I grew up in an older home from infancy until about sixth grade. My years there were filled with warm summer nights with box fans in the windows, crickets serenading me to sleep, and a pretty pink canopy bed, with pink shag carpet. My yard had large oak trees, and one tree was well suited for a tree house and rope swing. We’d jump from the tree house ledge on the rope swing and fly through the air. That was the closest I ever got to flying as a little girl, and it was pretty close. My brother closest in age to me, loved to dare me to do things; and I aimed to please. He dared me to fly on the first jump off the ledge, meaning, I would be at the highest elevation. That day I flew high; however, with gravity, what goes up, must come down. Down I went. Hard. I landed on my feet, and I can still feel the sting. I impressed his friend that was visiting. I can still see his eyes wide and mouth open.
I’d give a million dollars to have a picture of that tree house and our swing.
My mom sent me this picture of our home. Much has changed. Trees have been taken down, businesses have popped up around what used to be my backyard, and they have modernized the home. In fact, the home is a business. Looking at the front yard, my mind went back to a revival night. We provided worship music, a message, and watermelon. It was a night of adventure and mystery. In the dark of the night, we worshiped and poured out love to our neighbors. Folks sat on blankets and sang along with the musical talent on the front porch. When the watermelon was passed around, as a child, I was thrilled. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted watermelon again quite like that night–sweet, filled with water, crisp, and smelled divine.
My family is away on vacation. I’m much older with a full life. I recently became a grandmother. Becoming a grandmother forces you to reflect. I watch my oldest daughter with my grand-daughter; and I go back. Memories I’ve stored in the recesses of my mind spring forth like a pop-up book–taking you by surprise at the beauty and details. This side of the memory has more meaning. You close your eyes and imagine your grandchildren’s memories they will make with you.
Our kitchen had the largest table to fit the whole family for meals. My mom was an amazing cook. One afternoon, a friend was visiting, and she served coffee and jelly toast. I was sitting next to my mom across from the friend. The window was open, and the toaster on the table. She would toast the white bread, smother the softness with real butter, and then the grape jelly. Up to that point, I had not really experienced the process of jelly toast. I guess it was the company, the breeze, the simplicity of the afternoon, but my mouth had never tasted such heaven. I loved the way she toasted the bread just enough to make it warm, but not crisp, or burnt. What was equally unusual was my mother’s change in the rules. She was conservative. You ate three balanced meals a day, no snacks in between except for fruit, and over eating was not encouraged. I thank her for this. I’m healthy today because of her wisdom and discipline. This time was different. She picked up on my experience of heaven and decided to serve my fantasy of jelly toast.
Like Oliver, I asked for “more”, and instead of turning me out, she served me. I think I ate about four pieces of jelly toast that day.
On our vacation, we had breakfast together; we had jelly toast. Grape jelly. Butter. Warm toast. I told them my pop-up book memory, and my youngest smiled at me. “Grandma made me jelly toast, too.” We reminisced together.
Life is much like jelly toast stories. We experience the daily grind–work, cleaning, disappointments, chores, going, and doing. The necessary prevails. In fact, the necessary provides the structure to experience the jelly toast stories. Simple things you do out of love will be remembered and treasured for a life time. The next time you are doing the ordinary for someone extraordinary it matters. You are creating a beautiful pop-up book, in which, your love will be the thematic thread woven in the legacy of your family story.
My house is filled with a thousand dreams….
“I just pray that hope will go on living
In this house of a thousand dreams” Martina McBride
When I hear this song–I go back, smile, and the happy tears flow….