Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Honk! Great post! I love my fair city so always love when people wax eloquent about it. :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 8:55 AM  

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Thursday, August 17, 2006  

Honk if you live in Richmond

More crisp end-0-summer days are swirling around us. Days that make me think about things I have loved. Days that dredge up beautiful memories of being 16 and finally growing tall and driving a car and sipping coffee with Mama on the front porch. Days of coming home from the beach where I was almost as popular as the girls in the beach blanket bingo movies. Days when I knew I was going to buckle down to schoolwork soon, but now that I was growing up, it wasn’t so hard to figure out how to get it all done, make the grown-ups happy, and still be true to myself. Days for dreaming, but days for doing a little, too.

Funny how different months shoot arrows of remembering back to different times in my life. I can’t remember anything specific from the Augusts of my childhood - those years before high school. July has the link back to those days, and the blackberry weeks of late June. Those were the months when we lived in Chesterfield County, before it was paved with tract housing and shopping centers. Back when a trip to Gresham’s Country Store, which was not quite out as far out of the city as Clover Leaf Mall - yeah - that place, you Richmonders - was considered a day trip requiring a picnic lunch.

November memories always focus around that little Janke Road neighborhood. It was one of the few suburban pockets flung out between the city line and Bon Air. (which itself is in the city now) This was before the inner ring of Chippenham Parkway was built. Back when everyone called it Po White - you know? because there were so many po whites livin’ out there? Po White Creek? Where I played as a child? Not Pow Hite. (!!! - you know I’m thinking "yankee come heres")

That was where you could have acorn wars with the boys, safe in the knowledge that, before things got too rough, some grownup would come along and break it up. That was where blue day flowers lasted long into the autumn and you could crush them and mix them with water and make ink ... sort of ... that you could use with your feather quill pen you bought at the Valentine Museum on the class trip. Because you knew better than to touch Daddy’s bottle of ink on the desk in the den.

Sometimes weather is the key to what memories a particular month can lay claim to. Sometimes weather can stake out several types of time frames: Snow in January reminds me of those many trips back from D.C. and my grandmother’s house and all the hope hope hope that the snow would last past Fredericksburg. It almost never did. Snow in January usually stopped at the 48th parallel, where slushy rain would take over, ensuring the school busses would run on Monday.

But snow in January also dredges up the glorious storm of ‘66 and the other one that came at the end of the month in ‘68. That year the storms came just before exam week and I remember walking home from St. G’s (on Stuart Ave), across the Nickel Bridge (Boulevard) to my home on the south side. A couple of miles, and I never once saw a buss.

Easter is always soft warm green grass beneath the redbud tree in the back yard. It always rained on Good Friday when I was little and it was always sunny by Sunday. And April means puddles of warm water in little pools on the tar patches in the road when you walked down the hill from the bus stop. You are still young enough to get dolls for your birthday in April. You are still worried that you won’t get that project done and turned in to your teacher on time. It never occurrs to you to ask your parents to buy you a folder to put it in, because any time you ask them to buy you something they always say "save your allowance". You just figure you don’t have one and you can’t get one. You get an F for science that 6 weeks.

You are still worried that you’ll trip on the playground and someone will see your underpants.

Late May and June brings up memories as sweet as the honeysuckle you smell along Riverside Drive, riding home with Mama from ... oh ... any place down town. Maybe you’ve been to the main library. Maybe you’ve been to a music lesson. Who knows. Maybe you were shopping at Thalhiemers or Miller&Rhoades. Maybe you stopped at the Jewel Box and bought a pair of earrings. It hardly matters. What’s important is how green the woods are marching down to the river, and how sweet the air is. Heady with promise and tenderness and a whisper that soon, soon, you would be all grown up and InChargeOfYourLife! You would have your own dishes!

Weather. Seasons. Memories. It is mighty good that we’re given this fabulous data storage system in our hearts and our heads. It can keep us entertained for hours!

posted by Bess | 8:10 AM