One of my favorite memories of my grandfather involves a walk to the liquor store. It’s not what you think. 😂Stick with me here. My grandfather- we called him Daddy Ah- was one of those guys who enjoyed being with his grandkids. It didn’t matter what he was doing. He always had 🕰time for us. My grandparents lived a few blocks from a liquor store. We liked to walk there to get a 🍺Budweiser six-pack for him and a Slim Jim for me. He’d put me up on the high counter while he paid. Sometimes, I also got a bottle of soda pop or a pack of gum. We took the long way to the store, which meant going down an alley to a little culvert below the paved road. He would set up 🎯targets of abandoned cans, and I would toss rocks to see how many I could hit. It seemed like we did that for hours- him setting up the cans and me knocking them down. Then, we’d stop at the store. I usually started to eat the Slim Jim before we even left. He carried his 🍺beer home to have later. Sometimes, later was at a picnic table in the back yard while listening to a ⚾️Cardinals game on a transistor radio that he held up to his ear. He listened to the game while watching me do cartwheels or play jacks.
On one particular walk, Daddy Ah grabbed me, tossed me up in a 🌳tree, and told me to hold onto the limbs. I was probably about 4-years-old at the time. I didn’t know what was happening, but he had never given me any reason not to trust him. So, I grabbed onto that 🌳tree. Within seconds, two cars came speeding down the quiet neighborhood street- one was a 🚓police car. An officer jumped out of the vehicle and shot at the tires of the speeding car in front. That car skidded to a stop as the officer ran to it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. 😳My grandfather had somehow realized that trouble was brewing and decided I would be safest above the action. He was right. When the officer had the situation under control, he gently helped me from the 🌳tree, and we walked the rest of the way home. My grandmother and mom thought we were making it up when we told them!
Daddy Ah loved to sit in the porch swing with my brothers and me to count 🚗cars. We each chose a color and used the cardboard cartons from his Chesterfield cigarettes and 🖊ink pens to tally the numbers that drove by. Winning meant having the highest number whenever we decided to stop. My brothers usually won because they chose colors like red or blue to count. I picked pink or purple, so my count was never very high. 😝Daddy Ah often said he saw a pink car just to give me a point or two.
There was a special table beside his recliner that had a secret drawer. My brothers and I knew how to get into it and exactly what was kept there. Daddy Ah put his extra 💰change in that secret drawer. That spare change was our 🎆fireworks money. When the weeks before July 4th rolled around, Daddy Ah helped us count the 💰money and divide it by three. Then, we headed to the tents to get our 🎆fireworks. My brothers chose things that made loud noises or bottle rockets. I preferred the snakes and sparklers.
I’m sure that big moments involved my grandfather, but I remember the small ones. 😍My favorite memories of him are special because of one reason. He spent 🕰time with me. I knew that he enjoyed my company. I knew that he could spend his time doing so many other things, but he chose to spend time with my brothers and me. That made all the difference.💥
Memories are funny like that. Some of the sweetest memories are the simplest moments. Sure- those grand times stick with us. The ones that make me 😊smile are the memories that aren’t always the biggest, though. They’re not the most expensive 🎁gifts or exotic ✈️vacations. They’re my grandmother taking me to the fabric store to choose just the right one for the 👗dress she was making for me. They’re my mom baking 🍪chocolate chip cookies. They’re my dad reading the Sunday comics with me on his lap. They’re racing Hot Wheels with my brothers.
Time. The best memories involve 🕰time. It’s that simple. I hope I always pause and remember that. I hope I have given the gift of 🕰time to my family often enough. There have been points when I was wrapped up in my own stuff, and it was tough to find the time. 😔Don’t we all have seasons of life like that? Seasons when time seems uncontrollable? It leaves guilt, doesn’t it, when we know we wasted time. 🙋🏻♀️We regret it. We wish we could make up for it. Looking back, we wouldn’t waste it. In some moments, though, it’s one of the most difficult things to give.
But- I hope my kids remember the 📚books we read at bedtime. The 🎲board games. The crafts spread all over the table. The 🍦ice cream cones on the first and last days of school every year. The walks in the neighborhood after dinner on warm summer nights. I hope my husband remembers my face at the🏃🏻 finish line of his races. ☕️Coffee on lazy weekend mornings.
“Time itself is an individual gift. It is wise to cherish it carefully and give it away generously.” ~Maya Angelou
What if…we give time generously? I know that I remember the time given to me. I want to share mine with a big 💜heart and a caring, curious mind. I want the 🕰time I spend with others to mean something. Maybe 😂laughs. Maybe dreams. Maybe calm. Maybe knowledge. Maybe just a little piece of me to remember someday with a smile.💖