Sun Man“Gram! Watch me!”

I jump into the pool with a loud splash.

“Good one, Autumn!” my gram hollered from the deck.

I doggy-paddle to the multicolored lay-down floaty. I use my arms like paddles and go back over to the deck.

“Can I have my Poptart now?”

Gram hands me my cinnamon Poptart and a glass of iced tea. Ahhhhh. The taste of iced tea after accidentally swallowing chlorinated water. My Poptart is perfect, and I go back to swimming.

Moments like this populate my memories like flies in a barn. I used to spend day after day after day at my grandmother’s house, but now I am barely there.

For some reason, my grandmother’s house is the only place I remember in vivid colors. I remember the day when my cousin’s mom and someone else had the fight in the front yard. I remember the time that I jumped into the kiddie pool and managed to shatter a glass salad plate. I remember chasing the Rhode Island Reds out of the garden and being able to pick them up to tuck under my arm.

The other thing about my grandmother’s house, is that no matter how angry or upset I have been over the day, I feel better there. I drink glasses of iced tea while sitting on the porch. I’ll sit watching the Hunting Channel with my Pap and the Ugly Blanket.

Things have changed over the years. As I’ve gotten older, it’s harder to find things to do at Gram’s house. Her chickens are scared of me and not allowed out, she doesn’t have her pool, Pap’s always too busy to watch the Hunting Channel.

Losing what my grandmother’s means to me is much scarier than riding a bike on the highway. (Which is pretty scary.) Last night, I was at my grandmother’s house. I had a headache and in the haze that’s a headache a thought occured to me- just be as I used to be. Screw the computer. Flop on the couch and read that Beekeeping book. Go outside to give grape leaves to the chickens and go on bike rides.

“Gram, do you love me?”

“More than you ever would think.”