Favorite Childhood Memory

I was chatting with a friend this afternoon, feeling meh about the upcoming work week. To change the mood, we started telling stories from our childhoods. This is my absolute favorite childhood memory. Telling it to my friend brought it back so vividly, that I thought I’d share it here. Enjoy…

My favorite memory from early childhood was Easter Sunday when I was 4. Easter where I grew up is nearly always cold & snowy. But this Easter was clear, warmer, and starting to thaw. After church my mom sent me outside (typical, else I was under foot), but neglected to change me out of the hated Easter dress.

I promptly found the biggest mud puddle I could and spent a blissful unsupervised half our running & jumping in the mud, making as big a mess as possible. My Mary Janes stuck at some point, so I took them off, plopped down in the middle of the puddle, and started a round of mud pies.

In the middle of it, my grandfather, a southern gent of impeccable dress & bearing, stopped by the house. My mother called to me to come inside, but didn’t really look out the door, just hollered. So, up I got, shook myself like a mutt, and trotted into the house.

Seeing my granddad in his favorite chair as soon as I hit the living room, I made a bee-line for him. He was wearing a beautiful dove-grey western suit, looking like Hank Williams, complete with ostrich boots and Stetson hung on the back of the chair. Before my mother could collar me, I flung myself into his lap, mud from head to toe, grinning like a fiend.

Both my mother and grandmother shrieked and moved to yank me off him. He threw back his head, laughing like a crazy man, ran a finger thru the mud on my cheek and painted it on his own face, all the while, crushing me in a bear hug made of heaven.

When my mother went to pick me up, he said, “Baby girl, caint you see I’m holdin’ my darlin’ chil’?” (That’s realy how he talked.) “This suit don’t mean a damn thing, if I caint hang on to this li’l bit when I want to.”

He asked me then what I’d been doing to look like a wild thing. I happily told him that “Momma asked me to go outside, so I thought I might as well enjoy myself.” Laughing out loud, he said he guessed I looked like I did enjoy myself.

“Yessir”, I said. “Momma made me wear this thing to the church house, where folks could see me! But she said to go play, so I did. I had to tame it down some, so’s I could stand it!”

My mother was mortified, of course, and fretted over his ruined suit. But he said he was proud of those mud stains. Said they proved he had someone to love and that he was loved. He flatly refused to let my mom have it cleaned.

That was the last time I got to spend with him. He went back home the next day and was killed in an industrial accident not long afterward. But I still hang onto that memory of his unflinching acceptance of this wild thing. Makes me grin like a fiend to this day!


4 comments so far

  1. FemOutLoud on

    What a beautiful story!!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Your grandfather was clearly a wise, wonderful man who knew what in life is important, and what is not. Right now, I’m glad you remember how precious you were to him, too. *hug*

  2. A Spare Mind on

    What an amazing memory! Loves!

  3. […] Favorite Childhood Memory (suddenawareness.wordpress.com) […]

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