Yesterday, Gramps and I went remembering. We stood at the shore of Lower Wilson Pond and as we looked out at the water, he pointed to a spot. “There, right there”, he said, “I learned to swim.” That was 88 years ago and it is as clear to him as if it happened last week.
“And here is where we went picnicking,” he continued. “My father would say, ‘Bess, pack up a lunch and let’s go for a picnic.’ Ma put together sandwiches and Dad got a saw, a hoe and some rakes – it was his way of getting us all together to work on the shoreline of Wilson Pond.
“Over that way is the camp site my sister Lambie and I camped at for a week at a time. We carried in eggs and bacon and fished for our supper. Sometimes for fun, we smoked old dry leaves wrapped in toilet paper; we felt pretty cool. We slept in a pup tent, cooked over a fire and enjoyed the carefree days of summer. It was marvelous!
Gramps and I stood looking out at the Pond but we were really looking at the memories.
“It’s the small things in my life,” Gramps told me,”the simple, small, happy moments that strung together make me look back and realize what an amazing life I have had.
“I remember sitting on the porch steps in the spring, soaking up the sunshine and anticipating the wonderful warm long summer ahead. After the rugged winter with heavy snow, spring was delightful and I was so full of contentment. There was much work to do but I just had to sit and feel the warm sun on my face, just for a while.
“That was a small thing but I remember clearly how I felt.”
Gramps has an opinion about life today. “There is so much excitement and busyness and people are on their little machines all the time so as not to miss a thing. There’s not much warmth in any of that.
“I think I’ll place a box by my door and ask all who enter to deposit their little machines therein. People need to slow down, talk to each other or just be still and listen. They need more simple moments in their lives.”
Gramps has not documented his 95 years with selfies, instagram or facebook. The land around him – the Pond, the barn, the hills and mountains remind him daily of his marvelous life. And the memories still warm him for he smiles as he shares them.