I always love coming back -- country quiet, the family friends from 'way back, and our dream house that just seems to attract cooked creations and simplicity. Even though we only seriously lived in the house for two years and vacationed for ten, I'm not sure I'll have many chances to do so in the future. We're packing up our house in Virginia and, though I know there will be several more trips to finish the job, there's just something special about a last just-normal-vacation.
I've been spending most of my time putting off business, reading childhood books and convincing myself I'm not going through technological withdrawal (there's no internet or service to speak of). I content myself in my room while my dad does whatever needs to be done, and my poor flu-induced mamma watches increasingly terrible network holiday movies. Every once in a while, I'll terrorize my fluffy cat.
I can almost fool myself into thinking that it'll always be like this, despite the little jobs that have been cropping up in my reading time -- cleaning window tracks, rubbing at carpet depressions with a screwdriver so buyers will forget we used furniture...hauling old desks and bookshelves onto a tractor for my dad to drive from the basement to the trailer.
I also pretend I'm not too sad about the childhood memories being loaded up in that tractor. Nostalgic recollections seem more suited for a spring day in an attic, not grown adults hauling out antiquated speakers to be dumped off at the Community Exchange shelter (even if those were the speakers dad made himself that survived the trip to and from Taiwan -- the ones that would serenade us every Friday night with Michael Card, and the ones that won out in a volume battle at the hands of my brother and me. Between those, the piano, and my screams, I remember dad storming through the front door from his firehouse meeting across the street. Whoops.) But remember we did -- while muscling the awkward dresser, desk or what-have-you, I got little snippets of origins from my dad. "That chest was made in the 1800s." or "I made this bookshelf when we were in Taiwan." I suppose we talked more about the stuff while moving it out than we ever did the ten years it existed in our basement. If this is how we get the memories, I guess I can't complain too much.
And anything is better than last year, where about this hour, dad was trying to come out of the post-op fog that put his back together again. Cherished (albeit stale) memories weighed against them coming from my dad in the flesh -- no contest. I know he'll miss it all just as much as me. Probably more; after all he practically built this house with his own hands. But the more live moments I have with my family, however mundane, pitted against the horrors of last Christmas (and New Year's and Valentine's), it might as well be a holiday every day.
Merry Christmas to you and yours -- hold em close.