When I was a kid I remember dreading the drive down there. It was about an hour longer back then but for as old as I was and as annoying as my brothers could be it seemed more like a fifty hour drive then like the six hour drive it actually was. But the six hour drive also meant that we were going to visit my grandparents and their wilderness wonderland. For that I'd make the excruciating trip again and again. I know that at least once my parents dropped my brothers and I off at my grandparent's house and left us there for a portion of the summer. The three of us were free to roam the thirty two wilderness acres, investigate the gardens, swim in and fish in the ponds, and for hours on end enjoy every single bit of what it meant to be a kid.
|Grandmother and Grandpa with |
one of my aunts (their first born)
|Their home in Indiana shorty after it was built,|
with only a small corner of the bigger pond showing.
After my parents divorced my grandparents sold their home in Indiana so they could move next door to my mom, their youngest. The property had housed their dream home. They built the house and spent their retirement working on the land. It meant a lot for them to move away from so much of their family that they'd spent so many years near and to leave behind their home. They did it to be with us, with my mom. Unfortunately my grandpa passed during the move. It was weird how in a very few short years during my adolescence I lost my family (when my parents divorced I felt like I lost my mom and my dad), I lost sight of who I was and all self confidence, I lost my favorite place in the world (my grandparent's home in Indiana), and I lost my grandpa. I mean talk about childhood being ripped away all at once.
My grandparent's have both been gone for a long time now. Eleven years ago my grandmother very happily departed in her sleep. She was ready. She missed my grandpa so very much. And more then twenty years ago my grandpa left us far, far too soon. It's been close to twenty five years since I last felt the magic, the safety, the love, and the very meaning of what it is to live while at my grandparent's home in Indiana. I've lamented that loss ever since.
Back to where I started, two weeks ago, seven hours after I got out of work including one rather exhausting five hour car ride later little Abe, my sister, my mom and I found ourselves in southern Indiana at my aunts house in the country. The sky was a dark nigh time expanse, clear as could be and speckled with millions of stars. Crickets were chirping, tree frogs were singing. In the darkness I could smell my grandparents home (although we were no where near it actually).
We spent the next three days reuniting with wonderful family. Except for the new children and the years we each wore (everyone looks so much older, including us to them) it was like time hadn't really passed. My mom's family are so kind and inviting. They're so down to earth and real. They're just as I remembered them and better.
|A bridge my cousin built over a |
fantastic stone bottom creek.
|This little man had the time of his life|
(and made several new furry friends)
During the last evening there we had a big family cookout. Seeing everyone was wonderful. Enjoying the Indiana wilderness, and more than that, watching my son revel in adventure was priceless. The vacation away from home to just relax, with family, in so much beauty... it was basically like being at a cabin in the woods by a small lake for three days which I never ever get to do, was amazing! But most of all I regained something vastly precious that had been lost to me for almost twenty five years. Even though my grandparent's home in Indiana is essentially gone (no longer in the family; I can't go back and be with them there) I felt like I was there. And spending time with my aunt who looks (and acts) SOOOO much like my grandmother in her "mature" years, visiting with cousins that remind me of my grandpa, being with family that we mostly have only been with and around through my grandparents... I think the best way to say it is that pieces of my grandparents are in all of their children and grandchildren and great grand children and I could feel that while we were down there visiting. My grandparents have both been gone for eleven years, plus, but they were there. My cup runneth over.