This week for my BFF blog we were asked to write about what we do when we are home alone. This story is based on true facts from memories and times spent with my grandparents in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina.
It was along time until summer each year. Mary Frances Gosselin, couldn’t wait until school let out so you could be whisked off to visit her MaMa Dear and Pa Paw in North Carolina. It was something she loved to do each summer.
Two more weeks and it would be time to pack up all of her worldly belongings and head South for the summer. Leaving her friends behind she would be traveling to the Blue Ridge Mountains to spend time with her grandparents. The mountains always found something intriguing to keep her entertained throughout the hot summer months. Plus her MaMa Dear always had little surprises to make the summer visit just that more special.
With bags packed, her father and mother would drive from Michigan to Asheville, North Carolina to leave her with her grandparents for the summer. Time away from Mom and Dad was always hard, but this summer, Mary Frances would be older and able to do a lot more than the years before.
Time stands still when you are traveling. It seems to take forever to finally get to your destination. This was a trip that her family made often, but this time it seemed to take an eternity. Anticipation was killing Mary Frances slowly as her father rounded one mountain after another. Finally, they all arrived at her grandparents mountain home. As usual, her Dad had to be extra careful when driving over the old wooden bridge. One slip of the tires and they all would be deep in the creek bed below.
Settled in and clothes unpacked, Mary Frances was ready for her nice long visit. Mom and Dad stayed a week and visited with all of the family. Finally, with lots of hugs, kisses, and good well wishes, Mary’s parents finally departed to go back home.
That night, Mary Frances slept like a baby. The crickets kept tune to the lullaby and hushed her right to sleep in the big ole feather bed. She didn’t wake up until the aroma of homemade biscuits and gravy lured her out of bed. Stumbling to the kitchen in her pajamas, Mary Frances could hear her grandparents chuckling and eating homemade biscuits. As she grabbed some biscuits and lathered on the gravy, she knew that it was going to be a great summer vacation.
As her Pa Paw made his way to his old ford truck, she knew that the day would be spent working around the home place with her MaMa Dear. She also knew that it would not be a boring day because her grandmother was always full of surprises. Kisses and hugs for her Pa Paw and he was off to work in the scrap yard to earn his daily wages.
Mary Frances spent weeks with her MaMa Dear and Pa Paw learning all kinds of things. Her Pa Paw always planted a huge garden. He only planted by the Holy Bible…his well worn farmers almanac. He swore by that book and Mary Frances guessed it worked because his garden produced some of the best vegetables around. His specialty was his green beans in which he called, Greasy Britches. Mary Frances always thought he made up the name because while working in his garden, one always had dirty britches on.
MaMa Dear, was brilliant with her hands. She could make jam out of just about anything. After hours pealing and slicing apples…apple butter would appear. You name it and she could make it or can it better than any Betty Crocker. Mary Frances learned so much from her grandmother every summer.
After a month had passed, Mary Frances woke one morning to find that she was alone in the big ole mountain home. She had never been home alone ever in all the years she had spent with her grandparents. This was a first and she didn’t know quite what to do. Her breakfast was all laid out on the kitchen counter with a note from her MaMa Dear. With wishes for an adventurous day, she was told that her grandparents would not be back until later that day. Appointments and grocery shopping would take up most of her grandmothers day because they lived so far out in the mountains.
After a nice hot shower and clothes all on, Mary Frances decided to look around the old house. She felt funny being alone in the big house. It was very quiet and soon she became a bit weary. “How could they just leave me here all alone?”, she asked herself. As she wandered around all the rooms in the house, she realized something special…she wasn’t really alone.
In the kitchen, she could still smell the morning breakfast and when she closed her eyes, she could see her MaMa Dear working in the kitchen. Rolling out her homemade biscuits and working her miracles with her hands. Mary knew that she would never forget the great smells made from her grandmother’s kitchen.
When she walked into the den, it was empty. She longed to have someone to talk to because the big ole house was a bit scary when it was all quiet. As she sat down in her Pa Paw’s big lazy boy, she noticed a big box of Whoppers. An instant picture came to mind. Mary Frances could see her Pa Paw in that big ole chair. She could see him sitting there munching on Whoppers and watching Pete Rose play baseball. She could hear him chuckling and just about cursing the umpires out with his bible words. She was amazed at all she could see even though he was not there with her.
Plunking on the old piano also brought back sounds and memories. Her grandmother, MaMa Dear, loved to play that old piano. Together the two of them would entertain Pa Paw each night with a new song from the hymnal. Mary’s favorite was ‘When the Saints Come Marching In.” That song for some reason always got her going. Every where she looked she could see them in every room. In the bathroom, she could smell her Pa Paw’s aftershave and see his old comb and hair tonic. On the little shelf above her, she could see the pretty bottles of nail polish all lined up. Every summer, she always brought an array of different colored polish for her MaMa Dear to try out. She could hear her giggling as she rubbed, clipped and polished her fingernails and toes. Pampering was something that her grandmother saved for the summertime. A time when all things were set aside in anticipation of spending every moment with one another.
The day passed quickly and Mary Frances realized that the ole house was a hidden treasure of things. Every thing she touched held some kind of memory. Soon, her grandparents arrived home for the evening. With hugs and kisses, they asked her all about her day. Mary Frances said that she spent the day talking and visiting with them. With odd looks from her grandparents, she explained that they were all around her all day long. Every where she looked, she could see them in every room. She could smell their scents and the aromas of love in the old house. She explained that she was never really home alone. That the two of them were there with her in every sweet memory they had all made together. Her MaMa Dear and Pa Paw were so pleased that she could see all the love that they had for her.
That summer, Mary Frances realized that no matter what happened to her grandparents, she would always hold their memories and good times in her mind. She also realized that no one is really ever home alone. All you have to do is look around you and you will see memories every where. Pictures, smells, you name it, there is something in your home that will take you back to a time when your house was filled with the people that you love. Being home alone is a good thing every once in a while. It makes us reminiscence about all the wonderful memories we have made and left on life.
Mary Frances and MaMa Dear