Sunday, May 17, 2009

fly on the wall

A snail. Just a snail crawling up the wall of the house. So simple. What possible meaning could it have. Sometimes it amazes me what will trigger a flood of memories. It is the act of crawling up the wall. Memories of when I was around 6 or 7 years old came back to me. I was at my great-grandfathers house. It was winter and it was cold outside. He had an absolutely huge cast-iron wood-burning kitchen stove. To get the top of that large of a cast iron stove up to cooking temperature you had to have a pretty good size fire inside which gave off lots of heat. And so on a cold winters day everyone congregated in the kitchen because that was the warmest room in the house. My great-grandfather was sitting near the stove and motioned for me to come over to him. I did and he sat me on his lap and started singing a lullaby to me. He didn’t tell me the name of it but just sang the lyrics to me over and over in a soft melodic voice.

“baby bye, there’s a fly
we will catch him you and I
There he goes up the wall
just as if he’d never fall
If you and I had six legs
I bet you we could walk on eggs”

That is all that I remember of the lyrics but his soft demeanor and repetition made it very relaxing. When he sang the lullaby, he would point to the wall as if there were a fly there and I would look to see the fly but of course there wasn’t one there. It was cozy and warm near the stove and I felt secure sitting in his lap and slumped back against his chest. I remember his house vividly and the warmth of the interior. Everything in the house was very old which added to the warmth. He wanted to be surrounded by those things that were around when he was young and so his household furnishings were all antiques and was like a museum of sorts. He was very happy there and lived into his late 80’s. He was my great grandfather but with the birth of my brothers first son he became a great great grandfather. And yes, he did get to see his great great grandchild before he passed on. I remember him fondly and the abundance of marigolds in his garden which were his favorite flower and because of him, it is also my favorite flower. He lived in a town in New York called Philmont where life was quite slow back then. People would gather in the small park in the square to listen to a local volunteer band play songs in the bandstand (a large gazebo, essentially) in the summer time. The streets were actually cobblestone. Not brick, but real cobblestones. Quite a novelty to see. And Oliver North, yep, he grew up in Philmont also. Isn’t it just amazing, all these memories from a snail crawling up a wall reminding me of the lullaby about a fly walking up a wall. I had a good life and so I have a lot of good memories. Although I can’t express the memories adequately to impart the emotions, I try the best that I can. I think that we all have memories and each of us could probably write a book about our experiences. And the question that I pose to all who read this is “If you could go back in time and change just one thing in your past, what would it be. Remember, you can choose only one thing. Tough decision. What would it be? Something to ponder. Lew

1 comment:

seaside said...

What pleasant memories of New York. A time that can not be captured again ;except by, your thoughts shared with us through your words. Our sunflower is about to emerge. It has the base, but not the flower yet. It sure is rainy over here at the beach.