Friday, June 15, 2012
Last week I mentioned that traveling with my son was go, go, go. The trip to Chicago lived up to my prediction. Not only did the go, go, going include eight trips up and down three flights of stairs yesterday - but also a trip to what I call the country.
That’s what we always called our little piece of land in northwestern Indiana. It’s a little over five acres and now just trees and memories, but there was a cottage there once. Cottage is a generous term. Maybe cabin is more accurate. I often describe it by what it didn’t have as in no running water, no indoor plumbing, no telephone, no television, no heat besides a fireplace, and for a long time no electricity. But I loved going there. So much so that just standing near where the house used to be made me feel happy. Now it feels like my forest.
My son was very patient as I rattled on about all the memories I have. How I used to go for walks by myself down the dirt road with a flurry of white butterflies fluttering around me for company. There was an irrigation ditch that to me was a fairy waterway and inspired me to write my first story. On one side of the road was a 1000 acre farm and on the other it was all wild. Tall trees with leaves that would shake and dance in the wind and meadows with purple wild flowers that smelled like peanut butter.
I would walk all the way to the red bridge that ran over Sand Creek and turn back. The road is paved now and the bridge isn’t red anymore, but I still loved looking at the water reflecting the trees that grow along the banks.
We drove through town on the way back to the toll road. There was more blabbing by me, about the steam engine we would take to get there in the days before we had a car. I pointed out what used to be Thompson’s dairy. A neighbor with an old truck would pick us up and we’d stop at the dairy to get a block of ice for our ice box. My brother and I got ice cream cones and would ride in the back of the truck with the ice. The story I always tell is how my brother’s ice cream blew off the cone.
I showed my son where the Ben Franklin dime store used to be where I’d buy little bottles of Evening in Paris cologne. The only place in town which is exactly the same is Flannery’s Tavern.
Today, back home we went to my new version of the country. The road here in the Santa Monica mountains is still dirt and the land is all wild. There is the fragrance of sage and lots of yellow wild flowers. It is a place to refresh and dream.