One of my favorite memories is of a humid, downright sultry
summer evening in the Ozarks at my grandparents' small whiteboard house
situated on the outskirts of town. My grandmother was either lonely or having a
crazy spell because she allowed me and my cousins to spend the night at her
We spent the evening lazing on the porch swing; wading in
the creek across the road; walking up the holler and catching fire flies on our
way back. She picked honeysuckle blossoms from her yard and showed us how to eat the nectar from the blossom. She gave each of us girls ten Bugle chips and showed us how to put them on the tips of our fingers to make witches'
We ran barefoot in the yard until it was too dark to see in
front of us and the cacophony of frog grunts and chirping crickets matched the
decibel of our own voices. She threw us each into the bathtub, let the girls
use her body powder, and gave each of the boys a dab of Grandpa's
cologne from the bottle which sat on his dresser next to his Bible and John
We climbed under old, but sweet-smelling sheets right in the
middle of her living room floor. Grandpa was out hunting so she stayed up to
watch the local news until the last of us was asleep.
There was an aesthetic to that night that I've since tried to replicate within my own household. People in my family remember Grandma a lot of different ways, but that's how I remember her.