August Ann Inspired

{Tang, Tilling & Ticklebelly Roads}

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“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”

Barbara Bush

I struggled when Barbara Bush passed away. I didn’t watch any of the funeral coverage. I did see some of the images. They made my heart hurt. She was a wonderful woman. Full of grit and courage and a spirit that overflowed with love for her family. I struggled because she was the age my grandpa is now. My grandma reminds me of her. Her marriage that spanned decades, is so like my own grandparent’s marriage.

And so, like we do as often as we can, when we finally had a “free” weekend where we could get away from sports and put all projects around the house on hold, we let the kids play hooky from school last Friday, packed up the dogs and drove four hours south, to the hills of Southern Indiana, where the roads “tickle your belly”, to spend time, precious, fleeting time, with my grams and gramps.

There is always something cooking on the stove or in the oven, thanks to my grandma or my aunt. We were treated to chili and hot dogs and peach cobbler that Friday evening and like always, Grandma either has lemonade mixed up or Tang for the kids to drink. This time it was Tang and the kids thought they’d died and gone to heaven. Mama doesn’t buy Tang for them. Mama also doesn’t make pancakes NEARLY as good as Grandma does and that is always her Sunday morning treat. We all got to enjoy the fresh air, warm sunshine and a gorgeous sunset. So, so good for my soul.

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Saturday we spent time in Tell City. Lunch at The Pour Haus , amazing food and super cool atmosphere, then shopping at one of my favorite little boutiques, the Domestic Goddess. That’s where I have bought most of my beloved “Indiana” shirts. I was SO tempted to buy another one while we were there, but I opted for a gorgeous sign for our bedroom instead. I could have an entire blog post devoted to our master bedroom project, that is complete minus stuff for the walls. IT IS GORGEOUS. I’m super biased, but my husband knocked that project out of the ballpark. He also knocked tilling the garden at the farm out of the ballpark…because really, HE. IS. AMAZING. Amazingly unselfish and giving. And, not growing up around any of his own grandparents, he just adores mine. I think it was killing Gramps to not be able to help, so he jumped on the mower to mow down the weeds. I’ll save the story of him carting a chainsaw around the farm at NINETY years old for another time.

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Saturday evening blessed us with another gorgeous sunset, so we drove a few minutes up the road to the little Catholic Church where generations of my family have been baptized. Had their first communions. Gotten married. Been laid to rest.

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It’s a humbling experience to walk amongst the rows of headstones, to see the names of so many of those that came before me. Even those that made the journey across an entire ocean, to farm THIS land. To LIVE on this soil. The sacrifices they must have made.

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The headstone of my grandma’s mother, who died when my grandma was just two years old, leaving her husband to raise six kids. The headstone of her father who died twenty years later, still suffering from a broken heart. Those of her own grandparent’s and their grandparent’s. So many stories. Some told. Many, lost forever. I crave those stories. Yearn to hear them, even if all they will ever be are just whispers of the wind through the pines, on the ground my family walked generations ago.

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Saturday night was chocolate chip cookies and ice cream and our Abby, who LOVES to read and LOVES to learn, is a girl after Gramp’s heart because he has a childlike curiosity and thirst for knowledge that is as refreshing as it is inspiring.  They had lots to talk about. THIS. This is the good stuff. She will remember her great-grandpa reading an encyclopedia with her someday, and she will smile. Disregard the teenager on her phone in the background. Sigh.

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Sunday morning is always bittersweet on our weekends at the farm. It’s a big breakfast and the last bits of togetherness before we have to head home. It’s soaking up every last drop of the good stuff that we can. It’s asking Gramps how he proposed to Grandma and listening, so closely to every detail as to not forget One. Little. Thing. It’s hearing that when they saw each other for the first time, Gramps said “she’s the prettiest girl in the room”. It’s seeing Grandma chuckle and blush because even almost seventy years later, he still looks at her like it’s as true now as it was then. It’s hugs passed around and promises of getting back down as soon as we can. It’s Gramps telling me to let them know we got home okay. It’s watching them on the front porch, as we drive away, praying we get to travel the ticklebelly roads to see them again.

Life is short. Regret is a painful, heavy weight to carry. We make time for what matters. And these two, are worth Every. Single. Second.

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As always, thanks for reading.

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