I'm about to disclose a scary thing here: My age. Or my general age, to NOT be exact. Tonight, I want to take a walk down Memory Lane for a minute...
I grew up in Guilder, not far from where we now live in Florin. In my growing up years I was blessed to have both sets of grandparents also live in Guilder. We were doubly blessed to have wonderful loving relationships with them. As children, my sisters, brother and I knew that Sunday afternoons/evenings were to be spent visiting our grandparents.
Grandma Ruby and Grandpa Pat lived by the City Park. As long as the weather was somewhat decent, we knew that after we got to their house they would put on their walking shoes, head through the backyard to the Park for our Sunday afternoon walk. We walked the entire perimeter of the park in the grass (no pavement!), surrounded by trees in almost every season. Spring brought us the scent of lilacs wafting on the breeze, or the smell of the crab apple trees in full bloom. Summer was a hodge podge of scents: families barbecuing, sweat from the men playing basketball or baseball, cotton candy from the midway. Fall was always great. Big leaves crunching underfoot and the distinct odors of summer winding down to the cooler, crisp air.
The grown-ups would meander slowly along while the kids would run up and down, chasing the dog. There were many hills along our route and sometimes we would run ahead to the top, lay down and roll -- round and round til we were dizzy -- to the bottom. Sometimes, in the fall, while the grown-ups were busily engaged in their conversation, we would gather up piles of leaves so we could jump in them. We always got a little quiet and just a little scared as we walked past the fence that bordered the cemetery... remembering all the ghost stories we heard about acorns and ghosts of women that wander through the gravestones there. And of course we HAD to play in the "old dead tree" which wasn't really dead. Just a tree that had, at some point in its existence, split in half with parts of it growing perpendicular to the ground. That is the only tree I ever climbed on as a kid.
Grandma Millie and Grandpa Bob's visits were a little different. Once in a while we would go on walks but our visits were mainly eating cake and ice milk while we watched Sunday evening TV. (Never heard of ice milk? Lucky you!) If it wasn't the Lawrence Welk show it was Hee Haw.
Do you remember Hee Haw? The country music comedy sketch show? I was so young that I am pretty sure I didn't get the humor of the jokes they told, but I saw all the grown-ups laughing and that was good enough for me. I definitely remember that I hated all the country singing on the show and I couldn't wait to get back to the funny skits. (I still HATE country music!)
There were many regular skits that, to this day, permeated my life. I can't tell you how many times I have said, "Hey Grandpa! What's fer supper?" or I have sang, "Gloooom, despaaaair and agony on me...." Sometimes they meld together.... gloom, despair and agony instantly segue way into the song, "Why did you leave me here all alone? I searched the world over ....." You remember the song, don't you?
There is a purpose to this rant.
Tonight, after Easter dinner at my parent's house and after all the travelling guests had to leave, we settled down for a restful moment in front of the TV (no ice milk... THANK HEAVENS!!) As we were scanning through the channel guide, we saw that there was an old episode of Hee Haw on. Circa 1969. One of the originals.
We couldn't resist. We had to watch it. To be honest, I thought I would hate it. I thought it would be so completely corny that I couldn't sit through a whole hour. But as the show progressed and I saw Roy and Buck (my least favorites of the cast) and Lulu and Grandpa Jones and those old skits, I kind of felt like I was going home. There was the old corn field where people would pop up in pairs and tell one or two line jokes. There was the old fence that would flip up and hit people in the behind when they told a joke. There was everyone laying around with the hound dog between them singing about their gloom and their despair. OH! What about the guy in the moth eaten sweater giving a news update with the roosting chickens behind him? And of course, you can't forget about Archie Campbell and Gordie Tapp singing "Pbbt You Were Gone."
That was one of the best hours I've spent watching TV in a long time. Poor Buttercup... couldn't handle the 1969 hairdos or plaid suits. She did laugh when Archie told the story of the "Pee Little Thrigs." But mostly she read her book.
Inigo enjoyed it. Not that he got any of the jokes, but I think he enjoyed the fact that the grown-ups were enjoying it. Kind of like I did as a kid.
It was great fun spending that hour with my parents. Those were great memories that came back to the surface. I could instantly go back to that little house on 10th street, sitting on Grandpa's footstool in the cramped "den", with the smell of this morning's coffee surrounding me, a plate of white cake with chocolate icing getting soggy from the fake ice cream.
It doesn't get any better than that. Does it?