There are some places that never leave you. This weekend I took the opportunity to travel to my grandparents' home in South Dakota, where I was reminded of this. The smells are what first reminded me that I am fully embraced there. Everyone's home has a smell. Most grandparents' homes have a certain tinge of clean mixed with the definite scent of age. Those things are true of this home, but I'm also warmed by the scent of saw dust, cookies, and laundry. I feel like I've been wrapped in a plaid blanket the moment I step inside. I love that.
One spring I spent a whole month with my grandparents. I broke my hand just a week or two before the end of the school year, and being one of the years I was home-schooled I was excused from final exams and instead took an extended vacation. Visiting this weekend flooded my mind with memories. I was reminded of my love for asiago cheese bagels and frozen cookies. My grandmother would buy the bagels for me to make sandwiches, but I chose to eat each ingredient separately. I can close my eyes and see myself huddled in a leather la-z-boy recliner, holding a plate with meat, cheese, and a bagel. I reasoned that it all ended up in the same place, and I enjoyed each entity in its purity. My grandmother freezes cookies. I love frozen cookies. This weekend my grandmother took a bag of spritz cookies from the freezer and told me to eat them. I needed no second bidding. The one-gallon zip-lock bag is now nearly empty. The buttery-sweet golden goodness is irresistible to me. Not only do I love them for their taste, but they remind me of Christmas. I don't think that there could be a better cookie.
I live near the mountains, and I've realized that every mountain range is distinct. The Black Hills, where my grandparents live, is filled by a dark green pine forest. When the sun is low enough, the trees cast shadows. The beams of light shoot in between them, but it's hard to tell which is more spectacular. The shadows sprawl like fallen companions at the feet of their living counterparts, but they are just as full of life. They are more than just the darkened ground where the sun cannot reach. They are poetry scrawled on grass and rock. Anyone can read it.
Golf. I'm positive that this word is somehow related to the word "Pain", but I haven't figured out the etymology. I'm not a golfer, but I golfed this past Sunday. On nine holes, I hit the ball roughly twice as many times as you are supposed to, if that's what "par" means. I certainly got my money's worth. Those poor folks that own the golf course must not know that people like me are out there, hitting twice my share strokes and demolishing more than twice my share of grass. I did enjoy it, in the end. Amidst the frustration there were a few strokes of genius. These gems were few and far between, but I remember them better than all of the terrible shots I took. This must be what motivates people to play time and time again.