It’s Saturday. Yesterday’s beautiful snow is lying in dirty spots here and there hidden in shadows from the sun. Up against fences, in flower beds, in corners of the yards. The rest has melted away. Today is the first of a 16 day break from work/school for me and I am ecstatic. So ecstatic that I awoke before 4 a.m. ready for my vacation.
I do believe I’ve hit “the age”. The age where you wake up early even when you don’t want to. The age where you no longer fly out of bed ready to start the day, but rather step lightly and gingerly to the easy chair to give your joints a bit more time to warm up. The age where you long for peace and quiet instead of people and noise.
Last night J-Dub and I went to a little Christmas social then decided to go to the video store and look at magazines and videos. After perusing a good 20 or 30 minutes, we left empty handed. Walking out to the truck I said I just wanted to put on my jammies, drink something hot, and read a couple pages in a book before falling asleep.
It wasn’t quite 9:00.
So we’ve hit the age.
Sometimes we reminisce about when we were children and we would eat with our grandparents at Furr’s Cafeteria, which has long since shut down and been replaced with a Mexican Food restaurant. In our memories, old people lined the hall of the cafeteria, had employees carry their heavy trays while they struggled with their canes and walkers, and blew their noses in the maroon cloth napkins.
Last weekend we went into the big city and in an attempt to avoid the crowds went shopping at antique stores. I saw drinking glasses that I used at my aunt’s house, toys I played with as a young child, dishes from my grandmother’s cupboards, Little Golden Books I’ve read, and knick-knacks that sat on my mother’s dresser. I’ve hit the age where almost all the antiques offer a memory.
Afterwards we decided to treat ourselves to Furr’s Cafeteria. We got our trays and our napkin-wrapped silverware, which is now paper napkin-wrapped, and went through the line. I tried desperately to veer from my childhood choices. I was going to try something new and different. After all, I am an adult now. But it was as if some force from the past controlled me. I wanted to order roast beef and green salad. But it was as if I was a marionette whose puppeteer was manipulating my hand choosing baked fish and tartar sauce, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, a hot roll, and even when I longed desperately for pie, I was compelled to choose tapioca pudding with the whipped cream and cherry. All the things from my childhood. All the dishes I’ve ever eaten in all my outings to Furr’s cafeteria. It was a delight. It wasn’t the best food we’ve ever had but it was different from the restaurants we usually eat. At the booth I had trouble hearing Jason a couple of times and had to ask, “Huh?” He pointed out that I was “fitting right in” at Furr’s.
That day in Amarillo I relived bits and pieces of my past. I thought of my grannie who served Saturday morning pancakes in stacks of four cut in triangles on those same Fiesta plates from the antique mall.
I thought of my parent’s red bedroom, with red carpet, and a red crushed velvet headboard when I gazed upon that glass rooster that used to sit on their dresser filled with change and such.
I thought of our kitchen wall with those coca-cola trays with the old fashioned women encouraging us to Enjoy Coke.
I thought of scary Friday the 13th movies and Jason’s mask when I saw an old barn picture that used to hang in our home. It always reminded me of a killing spree on Friday the 13th and I was scared of it. hu, hu, hu, ch, ch, ch…..hu, hu, hu, ch, ch, ch……I studied it for a long time. It was smaller than I remember and so benign-looking 15 years later.
The past is gone and all that is left are my memories. Eventually those will pass too. And some day, this Saturday with the melting snow will be a memory that I will be trying to grasp hold of. Our lives are like a dream. The kind where you wake up and you don’t remember it all, just a moment here and there. You close your eyes and try to return to it because it was pleasant. But all you have is a snippet here and a fragment there and the pieces don’t come together quite right. And you long to re-visit, but you can’t. You just can’t.
And that’s one reason why I write. These memories need a place to live.