|My brothers and I
I loved summers as a child. Growing up in the country, my brothers and I often set out on foot or on mini bikes to explore the hills where we lived. We climbed trees, shot BB guns, played in the sprinklers and swam at the local pool. Life was sweet and innocent and our biggest worry was getting back in time for dinner.
Somehow summer has changed. As I frantically run around, planning, picking up and dropping off this and that, I try to finish my never ending “to do” list and I can’t help but reflect on how summers used to be. They used to be a time to catch my breath before school started up again in the fall. Summers used to be a time to relax and recharge. What happened?
As a child, our vacation every year included a trip to the San Luis Valley in Colorado to visit our relatives. While there, our time was spent with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins galore and it seemed as if we were related to everyone who lived there because, for the most part, we were. In the valley there was a sense of belonging and of being loved and I always felt that we experienced a little bit of heaven there.
A particularly fun memory is of riding around with Uncle Clyde as he checked on his hay fields. Riding beside him as we bounced along the dirt roads and across the hay fields was a treat I never passed up. His fun sense of humor, his gentle way of teasing, the treats in his glove box and stops for an ice cold bottle of pop always seemed to be a standard part of his day. He loved me and I knew it and he spoiled me rotten.
On our visits there, I helped gather eggs, learned to outrun ornery sheep, watched cousins milk cows (I never quite mastered that one), drove a tractor and enjoyed farm fresh eggs and “fresh side” for breakfast. Oh how my Grandmas and Aunties could cook! It not only felt like heaven there, but the food tasted like heaven as well.
Evenings and weekends were filled with family gatherings. The adults chatted about everything imaginable while the cousins ran and played night games in the fields and outbuildings. It never occurred to me that those wonderful carefree days would eventually come to an end and that some day I would look back and ache to relive those cherished childhood memories.
|Heber and Orson
While on a trip to the valley a few years ago, we visited the Sanford Museum located in Sanford, Colorado. They have a great collection of photos and memorabilia and were very helpful. There in an album full of old photos, I found a picture of my Grandpa Heber Ganus and his twin, Orson. Thankfully, although the picture was dark and a poor quality, it was clearly marked and my father assured me that it was indeed a picture of my grandfather and his brother.
From the stories I’ve heard, I know that childhood was rough for my orphaned grandfather, but this simple picture gives me hope that just maybe he too had some fun carefree days. Seeing the twins, sticks in hand, dressed in their bib overalls and hats while carefully balanced on a small wooden raft in the middle of a pond, I am reminded of the stories and antics of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Where did Heber and Orson’s imagination take them that day?
I wonder if that day was like the days I spent in the valley as a child? In that high mountain valley the warmth of the sun seems to permeate your whole being, the sky seems a little bluer and although I know I am biased, even the white cotton-candy clouds seem more fluffy.
I envision the two brothers talking and laughing and if I know anything at all about boys, I suspect there was a healthy amount of mischievous splashing. Did horseplay send either one or both of the boys into the pond?
I hope that in their fun, they were able to forget their troubles and their loneliness for the family life they no longer had. I hope that in the companionship of his brother, Grandpa Ganus felt that contented sense of belonging and of being loved. Summers can be good that way and I would like to think that just maybe… on that day… Grandpa too felt a little bit of heaven.
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014, All rights reserved