It’s a Saturday, probably July 1967 as I look down the old dirt road, dirt clouds billowing behind an old blue car. I know its my grandpa and grandma Underwood. I holler, “its grandpa and grandma”. Mom comes out on the front porch, holding my little, blue-eyed baby brother. Her eyes light up and a beautiful upturned smile arrives. I’m not sure what makes me happier, seeing my momma smile or knowing grandpa’s car will be packed with cousins to play with. My grandpa was awesome, he was a tall slender man, always wearing a fedora. He would pile every grand-kid he had in that old car if he could fit them. He possessed more love in his heart than any one human deserved, and he loved my momma and made her feel like the only child he had when he was there, even though momma had nine other sisters and two brothers. After the hugs and slobbery kisses were all exchanged by everyone, grandpa would say “come on kids lets go to town, give Jeannie and grandma some time together”. He didn’t have to tell us twice, we knew we were going; to Mr. Rushing’s little grocery store and get candy, what a grand memory. We would pile in to that old car like a can of sardines, something that is most illegal today. Down that old dirt road, we would go, windows down, wind blowing everyone’s hair around until we looked like orphans by the time we got to town. One by one we would crawl out of the car; how many were there you ask? On average, at least eight to ten of us. Grandpa would let us all get a piece or two of candy and maybe a soda if he could afford it. But always, always he would bring a special treat home to my mom. My grandparent’s relationship and their family values are what I see when I look at my mother’s four youngest sisters. I am so lucky to still have them, for in them the generation lives on. It is a miraculous thing the traits we carry, the actions and words we see and say. It is amazing to feel love unconditional by those you’ve known the longest. It is amazing to be part of a legacy that has imprinted goodness upon one another. I love my cousins and am so appreciative to have them in my life. They were and are my true “first” childhood friends. By the time we get home, grandma and mom have probably drank a pot of coffee and used up the dictionary for sure, for those two could talk up a storm. Grandma would help get lunch ready, I can still see her peeling potatoes and mom mixing the cornbread. Dad would be home for lunch soon, so us kids made sure we were finding entertainment outside. We grew a lot of pigs at our farm and one of the most favorite things we liked to do, along with the cousins was to try and ride them, or let them drag us around holding on to their tails, “I know, dirty right”? No, it was absolutely the most fun thing ever! After staying for several more hours, it was time for them to go home, of course none of us wanted them to go. They only lived a short way from here, probably about forty or so miles at a little place called Roaring Springs, Texas. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It was a grand place, a place where many, many more childhood memories were made.
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