Good Times

fireworks-clipart

When I was a kid, my family would make the drive to visit relatives in Louisiana and Michigan. During those visits, my brothers and I dreaded having to listen to the stories the older relatives told. Stories of hardships they had and privileges they lacked were the dullest stories ever in our young minds. The only thing that interested, and grossed us out, was the spitting ability of our great-aunts and great-uncles. Some could spit tobacco clear across the room into a coffee can.

My brothers and I entertained ourselves by an exaggerated recollection of some of our relatives’ stories. “I had to walk to school in the pouring rain—ten miles with no shoes. And I had to beat off wolves” was a favorite.

Good times.

I didn’t realize back then how priceless their stories were. Once I was old enough to really listen, they taught me the value of hard work, sacrifice, and pride in accomplishment. Above all, they taught me to have faith, especially through the hard times.

Well, that generation of relatives is gone. Now I realize how much I miss their stories and their wisdom. I’m reminded of those stories, because I spent July 4 with my in-laws. Three generations gathered to munch on ribs and be whipped at bean bag toss by a grinning aunt.

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As my sisters-in-law and I played games with our teenage nieces and nephews, I couldn’t help noticing that the teens wanted our company. They didn’t roll their eyes and slink off like I did when I was a teen, resentful of having to sit in the same room with adults so uncool (in my eyes) because they couldn’t do the latest dances and had no idea what music I liked. Instead my nieces and nephews shared their favorite YouTube videos with us, while teaching their grandparents how to use their new smartphones.

I wonder what stories they’ll remember when they’re adults looking back over the years. Certainly not my game-playing prowess. I was thoroughly schooled when we played a game called The Resistance, and much laughter ensued. I hope they’ll recognize the value of laughter, stories, and someone’s undivided attention—gifts you don’t realize how much you miss until they’re gone.

Fireworks from clip-art-free-clipart.blogspot.com.

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22 thoughts on “Good Times

  1. In doing my family history I have discovered the importance of writing down the old stories and memories before they are lost forever. Without these the ancestors of our shared history
    become just dry names on a tree, summed up by calendar dates. Or strangers or photographic strangers. There is a book called I Wish I Had Asked My Granddad, and that is my regret as I only began researching after all my grandparents had passed and I learnt how little my parents knew of their lineage.
    I have uncovered/discovered some amazing figures whose lives have touched me decades, and centuries, on. I think it is important to document these, and the stories that I do remember myself, for my future descendents. Even if my children don’t show as much interest now, chances are they may as they get older with their own children.
    Perhaps I will have a grandchild or great grandchild who somewhere down the line becomes a great history buff!
    Anyway, in short-it is good to remember and pass on the knowledge.

    • You’re so right, Andy. I’m glad one grandmother wrote her own story down in a notebook. The problem is, I’m not sure who has this notebook. But when I was a teen, she would show us the notebook. Her writing was an inspiration to me.

      I’m glad yuo’re chronicling your family’s history and have so many lovely photographs.

      • Aww I do hope that notebook one day turns up.
        I lost, years ago, a great photograph of my gt Granddad and a few comrades sat in front of, and upon, one of those first type tanks in World War One. I am still gutted about that-luckily I do have one more of him in his uniform with his wife before enlisting. I try to atone for losing the other by preserving and sharing this one, as well as others. I pass on what I can,-to others that I have encountered on-line researching common ancestors, and also to my own family.
        Keep the torch burning, so to speak.

      • That’s great, Andy. At least now photos can be downloaded and preserved that way.

        One of my old pastors had a WWII museum in his house. He had uniforms and other things. He also has a great memory for detail like you do.

  2. That’s a lovely post. I agree with you that you don’t always appreciate people until you can’t be with them anymore. My grandma is v elderly now & prob not be with us for much longer. I know I’ll really miss her, but I’ll have so many memories like you have of your loved ones.

  3. I can relate to much of what you shared here, but what really clicked for me is the fact that your nieces and nephews enjoyed being with you and their parents. I notice that with my kids, too. While my sister and I would — as you say, slink away from the grown-ups — my kids and their friends hang with us. Not all of the time, of course. But more than I would have at the same age. And that’s pretty cool!

    • It sure is, Laura. It breaks the misconception some adults have that teens don’t want them around. Um, yeah, maybe some teens don’t, but that’s not true of all teens.

    • Thanks! Hope you had a good one. I think they will. They’re already better people than I was at their age. I say that now, especially since I plan to mooch off them when they find jobs. They’ll probably move and leave no forwarding addresses.

  4. Terrific post! You brought back so many memories of my childhood. My family would travel to West Virginia to visit family; my sister and I in the back seat fighting. 🙂 Once there, my great aunt and uncle would pull out their pictures and tell stories. Of course, my sister and I rolled our eyes at the stories, but now, I would give anything to hear those stories once again. I have an aunt who is 86 years old and I love to hear her stories.

    • Sounds like many of my family’s car trips! We fought in the back seat or kept poking each other.

      I’m glad you have an aunt who tells you stories. That’s wonderful. What a treasure.

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