I had never really thought about it before, but he was right. We went to the beach a couple of times, but never anything beyond that. There were no trips to Disney or educational forays to Williamsburg or long treks across state parks.
It's not that we couldn't afford it, although I'm sure money was tight in my parents' early marriage. My father was still in college when I was born, after all.
"We didn't need vacation," I answered, matter of factly, "We had my grandparents' house."
My grandparents live in a small town in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. To my sisters and me, it was our own little slice of heaven. It wasn't the tiny Appalachian town itself that was so enthralling, although the occasional trip to the Wal-Mart was always exciting (note: in small towns the mega-store is not referred to as simply "Wal-Mart." It is always THE Wal-Mart). No, it was my grandparents that made our visits so special.
From the minute my parents dropped us off up until our goodbyes, we knew that our grandparents had carved out this week just for us. The kitchen was stocked with our favorite foods and the days were blank canvases waiting to be filled with romps in the creek, tire-swinging, raspberry-picking or firefly-catching.
One of our favorite pastimes was dressing up in my grandmother's old gowns from the 50s and 60s. We'd spend an hour selecting the perfect combination of dress, wig, gloves and jewelry. The final accessory was always a couple of pairs of Grandpa's tube socks, balled up and stuffed down the front of the bodice to give an air of authenticity to the ensamble. Mamma, as we call her, was delighted to see us parading around the house in her vintage sequined top or a glamorous cocktail dress. Over the years, even her wedding gown became tattered and kool-aid stained after countless hours of dress-up. "Now tell me, how many wedding dresses have been this well-loved?" she would laugh.
|I think I named her Buttercup.|
When I first got married, I wanted to share this part of my past with my husband. And he's been to the house and he loves my grandparents too. But there are some things you just can't impart with words and grown-up visits.
This week my oldest is having a vacation of his own in the Kentucky mountains. This is the 3rd summer he has taken a solo trip to Mamma & Grandpa's house.
My grandparents have been texting me photos of his time with them. (yes, TEXTING. They're hip like that.)
He is swinging...
...eating his favorite foods...
...dressing up (after a quick trip to the Wal-Mart)...
...and enjoying his own slice of Appalachian heaven.
I see his face and I recognize that joy. And I am blessed knowing that a piece of me and a piece of him are intertwined in those same hills.
We share the same love for the same two people in the exact same way.