They say you can't go home again. And, that seems true in some respects. But, returning to a place that is dear in memory, often serves to simply sharpen those reflections. As a child, I spent many summers at my grandparents' farm located in a small town in central Utah. My grandma's iris filled flower garden was crowned with a mint green trellis. And, my grandpa's garden had fruit trees, and a large, shady grape arbor. Almost on the same block, our relatives owned a much frequented candy store. And, across the street was the city park with a public pool, teeter totters, swings, and a very tall slide. A few years ago, I was stunned to see that my grandma's house had been torn down, paved over, and made into a parking lot. I realized that by spending so much time absorbing the house, as a child, I had an excellent memory of the details. So, although the home is no longer there, I can close my eyes and revisit every room of the house in my memory. Sometimes, when I can't sleep at night, I will do just that, lingering and savoring the happy times spent there.
Last week, we returned to the town in order to attend the annual Ute Stampede Rodeo. Many things in the town have changed since my childhood, and since my last visit twelve years ago. But, the spirit of the place is still the same. And, the smell. We put coins on the railroad tracks near the fairgrounds, and I found a railroad spike! In the middle of the rodeo, we got completely soaked by a summer downpour. Spending time at the carnival reminded me of a childhood visit. My cousin and I paid our tickets to ride in an enclosed metal, spinning basket attached to a ferris wheel. His pockets were full of change, and the coins fell out of his pockets when we were upside down, then pelted us as the ride circled around. It was utter chaos in the basket, and we were laughing so hard, we couldn't breathe. Back in the old days, they would give chicks and goldfish as arcade prizes. My poor grandma always had a backyard full of chicks from all of her grandkids each year. She would be sitting in the dark on the porch, waiting for us, when we returned from the rodeo each year. Last week, in my mind's eye, I pictured her wearing her apron, laughing and smiling as we piled, soaking wet, into the car.