I’m the hundred dollar textbook you caressed with pink and yellow highlighters. Café smudges and coffee spills grace my tree-murdered pages. How long before there’s no one left alive who remembers my name?
Trifecta Week 101 Challenge: we’re asking for 33 of your own words inspired by the above picture.
Is it possible to be nostalgic for a time you barely even remember? Warm sand between my toes, the cry of the gulls, the sound of the waves, digging a water filled hole to China. There are some things that stay with you forever.
We all have a dark side but it’s there for balance, not control.
Trifextra challenge – We are giving you three words and asking that you add another 33 to them to make a complete 36-word response. You may use the words in any order you choose. Our three words are
remember, rain, rebellion
No toys at the table, remember?
Please put Bear away.
No baby, wait –
What are you doing?
Hey! What’s this?
A three year olds fierce rebellion,
Flinging Bear out the patio door
Into the pouring rain.
I grew up on a farm near what is now called Saugeen Shores, (Port Elgin, Southampton and Saugeen Township amalgamated.) My highschool was in Port Elgin, so I suppose I can claim that town as my own, even though it doesn’t exist exactly as that anymore – the town or the building. It’s weird to see the shopping centre where I used to go to school.
The sunsets are still incredible, and the beaches along the shores of Lake Huron are still gorgeous, no matter how built up and touristy they try to make them. There are maple trees and cottages everywhere and the population more or less doubles every summer. It’s sort of famous now for its Pumpkin-Fest weekend in October as well.
I’ve still got lots of family there, and that’s why I go back. It’s hard to get all nostalgic about things when they’re forever changing and I don’t recognize them anymore. When I was quite small one of my aunts took me inside the car of a passenger train because I was dying of curiosity to know what it looked like in there. Now the train station is gone, the trains and the tracks are gone, and I’ve walked along the ‘rail trail’ like a tourist trying to remember how it used to be.
When mom and dad left the farm they lived in a little white house right beside the rail trail and the changes just kept happening. A little grocery store where they liked to shop closed down, forced to do so by the opening of a giant chain. They lived on Victoria street, but when the two towns joined the street name was changed to Arlington because there was already a Victoria street in the adjoining town. Mom was quite put out. To her ” the Arlington” was the name of a not so classy hotel on main street known for carousing and drunken revelry. Plus she had to send out change of address notices when she hadn’t even moved anywhere.
Every visit there’s something new, the old things disappear, people change, things get better, or things get turned upside down – its hard to keep up. Nothing ever stays the same, but then why would you want it to? It’s a great way to annoy the next generation, remeniscing about how things used to be.
“What do you want to be remembered for, Ainslee?” Lara asks the countryside flying by the bus window.
“Why, am I dying or something?” Ainslee pouts and frowns at her sister. “Why are you asking me that?”
“We’re all going to be gone someday, I was just wondering what memories you’d like your girls to carry with them for the rest of their lives. What kind of mothers you’ve inspired them to be. What things about you Matt would cherish forever.”
“Pfffft. Matt is NOT going to outlive me, so that’s nothing to waste my time worrying about, how he’ll pine away missing me. He’s got so damned much life insurance it would be a crying shame if I didn’t end up collecting it. And the girls becoming mothers? Man, I can’t even picture that. Dani is so headstrong and bossy and independent, who could live with her? And Allie with her portable medicine chest. A hypochondriac mother is just wrong on so many levels. She worries herself to distraction about her silly cats. Maybe that’s all the responsibility she can handle.”
“But Katie is the most like you used to be. Wild and a little crazy now, but she’ll get over that, just like you did. Someday she’ll have children her grandma will love to distraction. What kind of legacy would you like to leave for all of them?”
Ainslee frowns and sighs and forces herself to consider. Lara is always trying to make her think about stuff and it just goes so completely against her impulsive nature to sit down and thoughtfully consider things for no reason that she can fathom. Unfortunately, at this particular moment she must remain in her bus tour seat and is at Lara’s inquisitive mercy.
“I would like them to remember that I was fair, and giving and happy and that I loved them. I was a good mother. But that I was a person first, with an interesting life quite apart from them. That I went off to Scotland with my sister and sat in a bus and hardly thought about them at all except when I was forced to agonize over my imminent death and their uncertain futures.”
Lara laughs and nudges Ainslee with her elbow. It’s a good answer, she thinks. And now Ainslee insists on hearing her answer, which is only fair.
“I guess I just would like my sons to remember how much I loved them. I think that would be enough.”
“Loved them?” Ainslee snorts. “You spoiled the little buggers rotten is what you did. It’s a miracle they turned out so close to normal. I bet their wives curse you daily though, for what those boys must have come to expect from the women in their lives.”
Lara looks stricken and Ainslee laughs at her and tells her she was only kidding her. Lara knows how true it is though. She always felt Stan overdid it with the discipline, needing to be seen as the strong and stern parent so that she felt bound to offset his harshness with her own softness. And yes they got away with a lot behind their father’s back.
“And what about Stan?” Ainslee prods her.
“What about him?” Lara rolls her eyes. “He’ll have a couple of rums and tell a couple of stories and then he’ll forget about me and get on with his work and his life.”
“Are you kidding? You are Stanley’s ROCK Lara. He’ll be positively adrift without you!”
It’s Lara’s turn to snort. “I’m more like a boulder around his neck I think. My gravestone will read ‘here lies Stan’s Albatross’. The woman who spoiled his sons and didn’t like to dance.”
“I think that’s entirely too much information to be putting on a headstone, unless it’s ten feet tall. And you just couldn’t be that ostentatious if you tried. Oh My God Lara!” Ainslee practically screeches as she leans around Lara to peer out the window, her eyes like saucers. “SHEEP!”
And indeed, there they are, hundreds of them, more than they could have imagined all standing around looking bored with their little black feet planted firmly on a rolling green field. Although they have been on the lookout for sheep ever since they crossed the border into Scotland it’s still an amazing sight to see all those cottony white dots scattered everywhere.
Ainslee sits back in her seat and announces that they look like maggots from this distance. Crawling maggots on a dark green lettuce leaf. The image makes Lara laugh and she makes a mental note to pass that one on to Ainslee’s daughters for posterity.
“I was so excited to see them and then there they are looking positively gruesome. Let’s get some pictures!”
They snap a few blurred shots through the window as the bus speeds away. In a few days the sight of sheep will be so completely ordinary and repetitive to them that they will not feel bad at all when they sit down on their hotel beds one evening to begin the arduous task of deleting them from their memory sticks. Getting the images out of their heads is another thing altogether.