My Story Chapter 14: Memories


When I was a little girl my parents owned a cabin in Prescott, AZ.  They didn’t just own it, they built it from the ground up.  I can remember them putting the deck on the front of it, hanging doors, and my mother, very pregnant with my baby sister, building a rock wall to enclose her garden.  I can remember hiking around the hills sometimes alone and sometimes with my sister. 


I remember laying on a boulder in the shadow of a deep ravine with pine trees climbing the hills around me until all I could see was a pale blue strip of sky. I christened it Lion Rock because I believed it was a part of Narnia and that when I went there perhaps Aslan himself would come speak to me.  I remember digging up a small cactus with two shoots on it for my mothers yard in Phoenix. That cactus even now lives and thrives there, has about 30 shoots and bloomed for the first time this year. 


The smell of warm pine needles in the balmy summer sun, the early mornings that I snuck out on the deck to watch the sunrise and the time my mom came out with me and told me that the tiny fairies that flew in the early sun’s rays were dust.  The sound of the wind in the pines, the sound of the crows down the hill.  The first time my mother let me go a day without a nap,  The carousel horse my father hung between two trees so his cowgirl could ride it. 


All this and more.


Our cabin sat atop a small hill joined by another off to the Northwest and atop that stood my Aunt and Uncle’s cabin and with them lived my cousin Matthew (They are actually cousins but we were so close that we called them Aunt and Uncle).  My cousin, my best bud, my protector.  I grew up with two sisters and Matt was my brother.  He gave my husband and I the honorary title of Aunt and Uncle just as my parent’s gave it to his and so his little girl Macie is my niece.  He is my brother, my friend, my partner in crime.


When we were children our families moved up to these cabins for the summer.  We spent endless summer days playing through the hills exploring acres that were, for us, worlds.  Our mother’s packed a lunch for us and we played from dawn till sunset.  Sounds like such freedom but now I know that we were always within earshot and they could see us from both decks.  We had a place we called ‘The Trails’  a winding section of woods and brush covered by deer trails that we ran as if they were secret passages.  They only covered the side of a small hill but we could play there for whole days tracking bad guys, or hiding from them, looking for deer to hunt, or staying away from dinosaurs……


This was back in the days before cell phones and the cabins didn’t have phones at all so the only way for Matt and I to talk or ask each other over was to yell.  I can remember sitting out on the porch reading and then hearing this far off voice yell, “Courtney!”  “What?” I would reply, “Come over!”  It would yell back, “Okay!”  I would race up and tell my mom I was going to Matt’s, sometimes she would come with me and play Rummy Cube with my Aunt but most times I would walk.  Oh those wonderful solitary walks through the woods where I fancied I could get lost and wander around for days!  Where there were no sounds but birds and breeze.  I would spend those walks dreaming of the things we would do when I got there.  What adventures were in store for him and I that day.  Cowboys and Indians in the trails, perhaps a meeting with Aslan at Lion Rock, (The last time we went we heard him roar) or a safari down the mountain……..


Our father’s both had four track’s and I used to go with my dad and he with his and we would ride whole days exploring back roads for miles.  Just the four of us looking and going just to see..  I remember finding a dead cow on the side of the road once, just skin and bones then.  We weaved a story of a cow’s revenge on two little kids who came to look then dared each other to walk calmly back to our father’s….. we both RAN back.  I still have dreams about that cow…


I remember the day that my father and I went on my dad’s motorcycle to go visit with them and we went down the steep hill between us.  A little way down the bike chocked and fell and so we walked back up and got on the old three track.  Halfway down the hill we hit a rock and it flipped, it was coming down on top of me and my dad threw me over under the curve of the seat so it didn’t crush me.  We walked the bike back up the hill and my dad asked if we should take the four track.  I was scared, and he taught me about falling down and getting back up.  I remember the day we rode for hours and came out on this point above the valley, we could see for miles.  Or the time we found old abandoned train tracks…. 


So many things so many memories.  My childhood so overtaken by my imagination. 


Someday I hope that I am able to provide this for my children.  A place where their imaginations can take them away to new worlds, to new places.  The cabin is gone now, bought by a couple moving back home and rebuilt to be a home and not a getaway though my mother’s rock wall still stands.  Matt’s cabin is still there and unchanged by time.  He will inherit it when his parents are gone, and has promised many invitations so that our children can play together, run the same trails, be friends…….

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12 thoughts on “

  1. Good post today!  Glad I could inspire you. Now, I remember things about that campground. I drove for the first time on those roads in big Paul Coopers Dunebuggy! I heard Queens Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time in those hills. I remember the rock garden…Ahhhh, good memories. Thanks kiddo. Love ya, see you tomorrow.. Me

  2. I wish I had some of those memories. I do like hearing you and Matt talk about those days. My childhood was a little more sheltered and my parents were pretty much boring. But, you know that already. I’ll see you later hon. LoveRyan

  3. Thanks for sharing that is so wonderful.. you inspire me to put my thoughts to paper.. in fact, when Ben in overseas, it would be the perfect time for me to start on that.. thanks for being an inspiration! :o)

  4. I love it when you share things like this. You have a talent for writing. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  5. My grandparents have a cabin like that. I was an adult when they built it, but my kids will get to experience it. I’m glad my grandparents are so young so that my kids will know them as happy vibrant people, rather than old people in a nursing home. People give me crap for having kids so young but in the end I think it’s better for the family if everyone knows each other and can grow up together. I have memories with my great-grandma that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I was in my teens when she died, so I have many wonderful memories of her. That’s not something that can happen when you have kids late in life. My husband was born when his parents were near 40 and he never really knew his grandparents, much less his great-grandparents. I can see a difference between his extended family and mine, mine is so close that we talk pretty much every week. We are lucky to see his at holidays. My family feels very connected and I think part of that is because we knew the people who connect us. My cousin isn’t just so-and-so’s son, he’s my Mema’s great-grandson, just like me. It’s a wonderful thing to be so connected with your family. I’m rambling. Have a good day! -Michelle

  6. Thank you for your comment. I wrote my post with as heated words as I could muster. For some reason, I just wanted someone to know that I will defend their honor…because it is all that I have to offer. It hurt my heart so much to hear the pain in Roger’s voice when he called home. He lost dear friends…he almost died…and he made it home to all of this. Having done so much research and writing on Vietnam…it burns me up to see history repeat itself…and to see our foolishness as we walk in the same footsteps of those before us. Why can’t we see? Why can’t anyone understand? There will always be war…there will always be hate in men’s hearts. But then again, I know the answers to all of these questions. I just wish everyone else did.
    You’re an awesome woman…and your husband an honorable man. I am proud of you and your service to this country.
    -Gia:)

  7. Hey Courtney,
    I just wanted to stop in and say hello to you. I am sorry it has been a while since I have done so. I have a lot going on with school right now and I dont have very much time to write tonight, But I talked to Mike..I couldnt stand it anymore! Our songs kept coming on the radio today and it was driving me insane so I made an excuse to talk to him. It was legite though (spelling). As soon as I got into my car this morning the song came on..the one he would sing to me when he got back from iraq while I was in alpine still… and then another one of ours by toby keith came on and I just had to say something to him. He was civilized about it..I just asked him to tell our boss I couldnt work saturday since I have the kidney infection and he said he was in the field. So I guess hes doing his training for the 2 weeks this summer for the guard right now. I didnt know…sigh. Why do I keep doing this? I know he doesnt love me..and I know we arent getting back together..so why do I do this to myself? I just wish I could forget him…but I cant because something is always there to remind me. I hope you had a good day. I liked your memory..sigh. I am going to study and do my essay. Talk to you tomorrow.

  8. I told him courtney. Last night, I told him it was the last thing that I needed to do in order to move on from this and let go of the pain and of the bad feelings. I told him I love him and that my heart is open to him. the rest is up to him and what he wants. He asked me where that came from and I told him I had been doing a lot of thinking…and that I just had to tell him before I leave for schreiner. He said it was cool that I was going to college there..I guess I was kind of mad that he was okay with it because it is obvious that I want him to ask me to stay and be with him..but I know he wouldnt do that to me again after what I gave up the first time. and I wouldnt do it again either. This time..if there is another time..it has to be him there for me…if he changes his mind, he will wait for me or he will come to me. So taking it a day at a time right now is exactly what I need. No more contact with him at all. I promise. Everything is in his hands now….I have counted 4 songs so far that have come on and 2 more last night on the radio..our songs from the cd he made me in iraq..it’s not over yet….but when and if it does become over, I’ll feel it too..right? okay enough blabbering. I will talk to you soon.

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