Sunday, July 20, 2008

In My Grandmother's Day

Every summer until I was in college my immediate family would visit my maternal Grandma Tonette . She lived on her parent's old homestead dating from the early 1900's in a house built in 1929. I remember sitting dreamily at the kitchen table those warm days-a breeze laced with the smell of the dusty gravel road and wild flowers lofting in through the open window. My mother and grandmother also lounged in the kitchen with the black pipe-stove and checkered floors. Around noon Grandma made coffee and the neighbors (my great uncle and aunt) came over for lunch. Generally we ate something like summer sausage sandwiches, boiled potatoes, canned turnips, and homemade lefsa with butter and honey. There we all were like a good bunch of Norwegians- drinking coffee and talking about life both past and present.

I find myself longing to visit the past for just a few hours. It would be nice to see my Grandma Tonette again. She passed away just last year. Sometimes I regret that I won't remember all of her stories. So much is preserved by oral history. However, I know that if I simply set foot on the farm again many of the stories will reemerge from my memory. Hearing the sound the old wooden floor makes when someone walks on it or the way the wet earth smells after it rains will inevitably bring me back long enough to get out a pencil and paper and write something down.

Perhaps the next time I am there I will sit in my grandmother's old room. I'll stare out her window at the ruggedly lush western hills set against the gigantic prairie sky. I will sit there ready to remember her.

(Green shirt-waist dress purchased at antique store-details in "Rainy Day Antiquing")


The Clothes Horse said...

Aw, your grandmother sounds wonderful. I hope you can go back one day soon.

old man neill said...

i think about my grandma the same awesome it would be to spend an hour talking with her amidst the scents and sounds of her old neighborhood.