“Let’s go on an epic road trip revisiting our childhoods,” we said to each other across the dinner table. When James had told me how he spent his summers on the lakes of Vermont with his grandmother, I knew he would get me. For more than a decade, my summers were spent running around in fields of wild flowers, biking down the dirt roads and fishing in the pond at the end of the street.
These past couple of years brought final goodbyes to two incredible people. James’ grandmother who he spent hot summers by the lake with and my great-grandfather who taught me how to make the best PB cookies. Pieces of them live through us. Since we didn’t get the pleasure to meet these significant individuals, we felt the next best thing was to show a piece of their souls left in those summer places that we keep so close to our hearts.
As we packed up the car, closed the doors and turned the street, the memories came flooding back. The childlike excitement you would get when you got to that certain place where you knew you were almost there. Our “throwback Thursday” trip brought us a different vacation element rather than relaxing on a tropical island or thrill-seeking of a foreign country. A place where you’re rejuvenated by the atmosphere and memories that embrace you like an old friend.
After settling into our AirBnB, we walked down a street that seemed to be trapped in time. I could have painted a picture and it would have been exact to what James saw. However, there were slight differences, it wasn’t filled with the sounds of kids riding their bikes up and down the street. Or the sounds of the tractor coming up to the barn with mounds of hay. Yet it was still perfect. We turned down the hill to see an endless road with one tiny house facing us, my great-grandparents house. I chewed James’ ear off with how I would ride my bike over the street holes after a rain storm. Or all the times I would come out and pick wild flowers.
As we headed back, James walked over the side of the road and said “Let’s pick some wildflowers like old times.” James continued to pick wildflowers as I stood quietly facing their house. A smile smeared my face, remembering how my great-grandparents would stand on the porch waving. I knew James understood and I felt even more connected to him. James completely and wholeheartedly understood what this place meant to me. It couldn’t be described in words or pictures, you had to be enclosed by its beauty.
Spending our summers in these places helped create our values and us. As a a result, being able to stand on my great-grandparents’ road and picked wildflowers with James as I did as a young girl was priceless. Standing on the end of the dock in Vermont, watching James be engulfed by memories of his childhood, warmed my heart. Listening to his stories of mischief and laughter with the neighbors who still lived on that street was perfection.
In conclusion, as we packed the car and headed towards home, we know that each other understands one another more. Above all, we shared a piece of our hearts and souls with one another. As we venture home I know we’ll always carry those memories of our childhood.
Just maybe, every now and again we will just be kids picking wildflowers and jumping into the lake.