Pieces of You
This week we made a visit to my sweet Baboo’s parents. When deciding what we needed to pack, the first things mentioned were bikes and the stand up paddleboard. The folks live on a small lake and have great mountain bike trails within a few miles of the house too so it makes sense. The man loves to play outside and every visit we have with his family involves playing outside together and stories about playing outside when the man was but a boy.
As we sat on the dock watching the sun skip across the smooth green water, sipping cold beer in the heat of an Alabama afternoon, stories were shared of long ago sailboat races on the lake. Reminiscences of the Sunflower sailboat that still sits on the dock, waiting patiently for a stiff wind and a brave soul to guide her across the lake, inspired us to leave the easy laziness of dockside chatter to lend ourselves to the freedom of waterborne vessels. My father-in-law, AKA Grampie, joined me for an easy stroll from one end of the lake to the other, chatting about the beautiful house on the opposite side of the lake that he admires from his boat and chasing herons together.
Each time we visit I get to hear stories that give me insight into why my man loves to be outside so much. There are stories of driving through the Canadian Rockies in the camper on the back of an old truck. There are stories about the move up from the camper to the Winnebago that seemed to be constantly in need of repair which just sounded like a good excuse for father and son to go sit out in the driveway to me. There are stories of camping with family, camping with friends, seeing the country from inside and outside the windows of those campers, watching the countryside roll by.
And then there are the stories of the water. The stories of watching his dad ski in Montana, wearing a wetsuit because he just needed to be out there skiing regardless of the cold temperatures. Part of our visit included some time picking up items that had either been in storage or needed to find a new home due the parent’s recent move and downsizing from two homes to one. One of the items the man really wanted were the skis he used when he was a boy. You see, Dad instilled a love of being in and on the water in him that lasts to this day and those skis remind him of happy times on the lakes of his childhood.
His mom is a memory keeper too. On a pocket door in the house there is a measuring stick for the Grandkids. She keeps her memories in sketches and photos, boxes of homemade and store-bought cards, small paintings and crafts that she’s collected over the years. She also kept the first planter she bought for the man’s bedroom some 51+ years ago and now, it finds a home with us, ready to hold a plant. Or maybe something else.
At some point toward the end of our visit, the man turns to me and says “Don’t you get tired of hearing these stories over and over again?” “No”, was my reply. You see each and every story, good and bad, funny and sad, gives me a piece of you I didn’t have before.