Sunday, August 15, 2010
As summer nears the end and the kids are getting ready to go back to school, I'm a little sad it's over.
This past month, my eighty-four year old mom and I drove to Colorado. Since my dad passed away in 1987, she and I have taken a trip together each year. I think my husband secretly looks forward to the quiet.
She and I've been to New England and taken in the fall foliage, to San Francisco and even watched the sunrise from a hot air balloon over Napa Valley. But this year, she wanted to go back to Colorado. When my dad was alive, the three of us always took a summer vacation and Colorado was one of our favorite destinations. Partly to escape the intense Texas heat, but mostly because Colorado has so many beautiful vistas and quaint little mountain towns.
Mom is deaf, but she mapped out where she wanted to go and I just sat back and drove. We arrived in Trinidad the first night and I listened to her memories about how she and my dad were always so thrilled to hit the cooler weather when they arrived in Raton or Trinidad the first night out.
The next morning we drove north through Colorado Springs where my son and daughter-in-law were stationed at Fort Carson when my two grandsons were born. She talked about when she and I drove through the snow to see the baby and the excitement of meeting her first great-grandson. And the second great-grandson two years later.
Then up to Estes Park and across Trail Ridge Road. Did I remember the snowstorm we got into once there in June when I was eight? On to Winter Park, Vail, Gunnison, and finally arrived in Ouray. Without this reading like a travel brochure, what made this particular trip nostalgic was listening to all her tales. Times she and my dad came with friends before I was born and how they paid fifteen dollars a night for a hotel room and split it between two couples. They thought that was outrageous for a place to sleep. She wanted to know if I remembered riding in a horse drawn wagon at a little hotel along the way when I was five. A man had offered to take me and my friend Mike around the hotel parking lot. I hadn't thought about that in years. We drove beside a river where my dad loved to fly fish and did I remember the picnic we had there? She laughed remembering the huge bear prints we discovered on the hood of our car one morning in Lake City. And what about when we used to try to come up with all the 'B' words to describe the brook. Bity, baby, bubbling, babbling brook. And who started that silly game? It was a river, after all. We laughed.
While I drove, she lamented about renting a jeep when Dad was alive and driving the trail from Lake City across the mountain to Ouray for fresh homemade pie. And how while they were eating lunch, she noticed that my dad had a crust of mud on his forehead from the muddy jeep trail. Well the little corner restaurant is no longer the same. The building she thinks it was in is now a saloon. We did find a different restaurant that had homemade pie, but she was too full to have desert that evening. The next morning we drove to Telluride and there were some wonderful restaurants to stop for lunch, but she insisted that we drive back to Ouray because she was having pie for lunch. We laughed all the way back and each had a small cup of soup and homemade pie for desert.
I feel like I relived a piece of my childhood just listening to her talk. She laughed more than I’ve heard her laugh in years. I saw a glimpse into what my parents enjoyed and things they did when they were first married and how much fun they had together. Not only did I relive old memories, but created a few new ones of my own.