Monday, May 20, 2013

Memory Lane

We had a lesson in Relief Society at church yesterday that really got me thinking about my childhood and all the awesome things we did. It brought back such a flood of happy memories that I just have to write them down.

I'll never for get our "sand" pile. It was NOT sand really. It was dirty that had been uncovered from the grass and had more dirt added. So really, it was a dirt pile. To us kids, it was the best sand pile ever. I had this awesome green truck and trailer toy that went mudding and four-wheeling with the toy cows and sheep that would rattle around in the back of the trailer. I would pretend like I was my dad hauling cows in his old '76 Chevy truck. I loved watching my dad drive off with a cow or two in the back of his awesome truck. Back to the dirt pile, we would make cities and rivers. The water hose was usually near by while we played in the dirt. We needed it for our ponds, rivers, or to assist in packing the dirt for the buildings, fences and hill sides. One day we got a bit carried away and our entire dirt pile became a muddy swamp, but it was not enough for just our trucks and cows to get muddy, we wanted to join in. We (Jessie, Daniel, and, I think, Aaron too) ran inside to get our swimsuits on and we ran back outside to wallow, roll and sit in the mud pile. That was one of the best days ever!

We also used to go to the haystacks on the farm and make huts. We had the coolest huts! There were old cinder blocks left over from building the barn and metal roofing that may have been from the same. We made the mansions of hay huts, let me tell you. Our huts came fully equipped with cinder block table and chairs and we even had beds in our 3 room hut. I think we tried to make a second floor once. Once. Second floors and hay huts do not go together...

We had an old station wagon that sat in the back yard. I don't remember if it was one we actually ever drove or if it was just there for "parts," but we had fun with that too. We would play "monster" at night. One person was the monster and the rest of sat in the car and pretended like we were stranded in the mountains in a dark forest. And, of course, there were a few windows we pretended were stuck open, one was almost all the way rolled down and one other was part way down. The "monster" would sneak around the car amongst the tall weeds and other "antiques" that surrounded the car. The "monster" would bang on the sides of the car, climb up to the roof, quickly growl at the the closed windows with hands pressed in claw shape on the glass and sometimes would find the open windows and reach their scary arms through to try to grab us. We would get so scared and scream so loud. I think we freaked ourselves out just by screaming and panicking all on our own. Wow! We LOVED doing that. It was so much fun to be scared when we were with each other and friends.

Speaking of outside games, we used to play "kick the can." Remember kick the can? We had the best yard to play in because my dad collected so much junk that we had oodles of places to hide. Our clothes line was usually the jail. It was a metal clothes line and really hurt when you ran in to free the captured and ran in on the low side hitting your head on the T-bar, or the few times you went to escape after being freed and got clothes-lined on the way out. Tee hee! I think we were pretty tough as kids because it really took something like a concussion or something bleeding for us to stop playing.

I think my dad started feeling sorry for us always trying to make elaborate hay huts and decided he would make us a play house. I loved that play house. I had been mosquito infested sleepovers with my family and friends out in that play house. My dad had even wire a light out the the play house. It was so much fun. In fact, I get such a kick out of seeing all of our kids now play in there. It was a great little house.

I remember family reunions with my dad's side of the family where we gathered at the park, ate food, played games and, best of all, had a fish pond. The fish pond was the BEST part. Also, the Christmas parties on my dad's side were always great to look forward to.

I remember the reunions on my mom's side where we would all play volleyball and softball up at a park in the canyon. Those are the times I like to look back on my Grandma Ruby and Grandpa Fred. They were so proud of all the children and their grandchildren. Grandma would would smile the entire time. My grandpa didn't always participate , but he loved watching everyone and even liked to pick a team to cheer for. If he was rooting for the losing team he would quickly switch over to the winning team just in time. Tee hee!

My mom used to make homemade cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, garlic rolls, cherry or applies pies and turnovers, french fries, popcorn and kool-aid slushes. Oh, those were fun times.

We sang a lot at our house too. I remember my aunts and uncles coming over and we would all listen or join in on singing the many songs my mom had written while she, Aunt Aleesa, or Uncle Slade played the guitar. Oh, how I loved those times. We still do that even now and have even added the piano into our mix with my brother, Aaron's talent.

Music has always been a HUGE part of my life in so many ways. In fact it is usually songs that I think of when I remember things about my family. Like when our family would take drives out to Delta to see our Aunt Becky we would sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "You are My Sunshine," or another favorite was the round, "Don't Put Your Dust in My Dustpan." My dad always joined in on "Swing Low" and I think that is why, for most of us, that is still one of our favorite songs of memories.

We didn't have money.

We didn't travel much, if, really, at all.

We didn't even have many toys as kids.

But, we loved each other a lot and treasure the memories we still have of our best times.

I want to challenge anyone reading this to focus on the wonderful memories of their childhood. Believe me, I can give you my share of bad memories and bad times, but I am choosing to move forward with the good and use those times to strengthen me and help me be a better person, mother, wife and friend.

It is up to us to choose which path we take, the happy or the crabby. I choose the happy because that's what I want to be remembered for. When people think of their times with me I want them to think that they were happy times, and even if I do mess up and do something wrong, I hope that the good times are memorable and special enough that the bad won't be dwelled on as my defining moments.

We've all been made fun of at one time or another, not picked for the team, shunned by friends, bullied, hurt by others and ourselves. Let's hope that the good we do will outshine the things we do or say that are not as good as we could be proud of.

If you are struggling to find the good in your life now, or in the past, start now by being good to others and finding the good will become easier.

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