The sleeping porch

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This time of year as the heat rises my thoughts turn to the cool, crisp days of autumn. I rev up the air conditioner and let my mind drift to cooler days ahead.

Many of my fondest memories of childhood lie against a backdrop of colored leaves falling in my grandparent’s massive yard. When the heat finally gave way to the pleasant temperatures of fall our visits to Mamaw’s house seemed even more filled with homespun fun.

On numerous evenings of our childhood my cousins, siblings, and I played in the red Mississippi clay until almost dusk. The dinner bell rang out calling us from all four corners of our wonderland. We scampered into the old green farmhouse to fill our bellies with Mamaw’s delicious supper, as it was always called in the old days.

The well-used farm table fairly groaned with the magnificent feasts that Mamaw’s loving hands prepared for her grandchildren. My grandmother’s biscuits were of the melt in your mouth variety, and she made them from scratch every meal.

Soon, it was off to bed as our little bodies wound down from hours of outside play. I don’t know how I always hit the shower after the hot water was used up, but it always seemed to happen. The orange Dial soap slippery from all the other children’s showers slipped from its place and slid around a few times before I could finally grab it. The smell of Dial soap never fails to remind me of those cold showers!

We all waited for our turn to sleep on the sleeping porch with Mamaw. When it was my turn I knew that wonderful stories would lull me to sleep. Mamaw never tired of sharing her tales, both true stories of her own childhood or original ones that always taught a lesson of life.

Many of the stories that I told my own children and now tell my grandchildren are at least in part due to the precious memories of stories whispered into the night from my own grandmother’s lips.

My memories of playing in the yard, eating a good home-cooked meal, taking a cold shower, and listening to stories long into the starry night are simple and beautiful.

Making great memories doesn’t take a lot of money. It does take time. It also takes a loving heart, a gentle spirit, and an unselfish attitude. Fortunately for me, my dear grandma loved all of her grandchildren enough to fill our hearts and minds with wonderful memories that span a lifetime.