Monday, July 7, 2008

Fireworks, Eighty-three, and Pool Fun

Hubby, Little Daughter, and I began our Fourth with a cookout. My mother in-law and two brother in-laws came to our house. Mother in-law is eighty-three and beginning to show the wear and tear that age takes on one's life. As we ate our hamburgers and hot dogs out on our deck, I couldn't help but wonder what this strong lady has seen in her lifetime. Sure I've heard the funny and even some sad stories told over and over. But what about the ones never told? One can just look into the face of Miss Ruth and see a map of the most intricate kind. What would her family know if they heard all the tales? 

I guess it's the writer in me that seeks out the untold stories. Just the thought allows my imagination to run wild. But the fact is Miss Ruth has seen many Fourth of July holidays. What about The Fourths when her husband was fighting in Germany? She's seen a world that has changed radically and continues to change. And now she observes it all from her wheelchair and more often these days with foggy thoughts anchored in the past. But still she has much to give to anyone who will take the time to work around the many obstacles. 

As the day came to a close, we loaded Miss Ruth and her boys up to go to a fireworks display. The picture above shows her waiting like all of us for the great event. Right at dark the first firework was shot into the sky. Daughter and I sat on a blanket in front of Miss Ruth. I heard girlish giggles from behind me and turned to find Miss Ruth beside herself in pleasure. How simple was that pleasure? So simple that many would not take the time to embrace it. Red, Gold, Silver exploding in the night and Miss Ruth giggled on. The giggles were contagious and soon both Daughter and me were laughing too. 

The night lit up and I thought of my father, gone now for twenty years. He had a soldier's pride in The Fourth. He served in three wars beginning with World War II. He knew the meaning of freedom up close and firsthand. 

As the grand finale came to a close and all the people scrabbled to get to their cars and pull away first, Miss Ruth, sitting in her wheelchair, looked at Daughter and said, "You want a ride." My heart cracked open when Daughter said, "No Maw Maw. I'll push you." We made slow progress but progress all the same. I began to see the true meaning of patience as we snaked through the traffic. How often do we label an event to turn out a certain way and grow deeply disappointed when it doesn't pan out to be what we see as a success? When we made it back to the car, all the traffic had cleared out. We were free to go home at any pace we desired. 

Yesterday I wore the shoes of Miss Ruth. I went to spend the afternoon with Oldest Daughter, Her Hubby, and Grandchildren. Granddaughter is pictured above in their pool. I will save you from the sight of me in the pool. Grandson put on his own display of jumping and splashing to my complete pleasure. At one point Granddaughter said, "Granny go underwater." Of course I didn't want to do this. I had my makeup on and it would run all down my face and into my eyes. I heard the request again. Why was it so important for me to go underwater? I don't know but somehow I saw it was much like Little Daughter pushing Miss Ruth. It was an offer, a closeness. Just when Granddaughter was quite sure I would never go under, I plunged into the water. 

I heard voice on top, muffled. "She did it!" The magic of a grandchild's approval. 

We came together around the table, eating fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and of course hamburgers. I came home with a bagful of fresh green beans and tomatoes. The taste of summer. The taste of love and hard work. We can learn so much from the old and the young. And we know that old is after all only someone's opinion. 



VCW said...

This all sounds great--even the unplanned happenings. Those are the things that make each trip memorable and put you exactly where you are supposed to be.

The photography is very good. I love the first one shot through the old picket fence. Great work. What is that building?


Ann Hite said...

The building is located in the smoky mountains. It's an old homestead. I took most of the photos. :)


Ann Hite said...

The building is located in the smoky mountains. It's an old homestead. I took most of the photos. :)


Keetha said...

That was lovely. I'm here from the southern authors blog, and really enjoyed this.

Ann Hite said...


Thanks so much!


Ruth D~ said...

I enjoyed this post, Ann. Full of family and fun. Think of the stories Miss Ruth could tell.