I took a four-hour drive recently, and ended up driving into the past.
The drive was to my mom’s house in Defiance County, Ohio, where I stayed for a few days. One of my brothers was also home for a visit, so it would be a welcome chance to see family.
My mom greeted us as she usually does, with a big hug and a bigger list of items she wanted us to do around the house.
We’re happy to help out when we visit and this summer the list included:
- Weed the grape vines
- Fix the standing mailbox by the road
- Fix or replace the faucet
- Move the refrigerator so mom could clean behind it
Fortunately, my brother had already weeded a lot of the grapes before I got there, so I didn’t have to do too much weeding.
Unfortunately, the part he had not weeded yet had poison ivy in it and I must have just rolled around in the ivy leaves all afternoon judging by the number of itchy spots I had on my arms and legs the next day.
And while I was worried that propping up the mailbox would be difficult, it went pretty well as we dug down in the surrounding dirt and realigned the post without too much trouble.
The only problem is that when the post office employee shoved mail into the now standing straight mailbox on Monday, it probably just pushed the mailbox right back to that bad angle.
The kitchen faucet was surprisingly simple to replace and we were done with it fairly quickly.
The only bad thing about that is that we were actually supposed to replace the bathroom faucet.
On the plus side, I am just kidding about that, and we did fix the correct sink.
On the negative side, though, that was a terrible joke.
Fortunately, we were able to move the refrigerator so that my mom could clean behind it.
Unfortunately, it was a lot more work to take down all of the magnets, photos and miscellaneous items on the refrigerator so that we could clean. (Fortunately, I was able to put all of my photos up near the top and my brother’s on the back of the fridge when we put them back.)
So, we did plenty of work, but my sister and a few other family members also stopped by, which made the visit very enjoyable.
For just a few days, I was able to forget about work and the daily worries of life, and instead I just visited with family, told old stories, looked at photos, watched a classic movie and constantly scratched at my poison ivy.
In addition, I ate too much ice cream and great food without even thinking about it. I even enjoyed some nice political discussions.
For example, when a news program was lamenting the loss of brick and mortar stores due to the incredible growth of online businesses, my brother pointed out that the problem seems to be that in this world we live in today, people’s shopping habits are just much different due to a variety of technological changes and societal shifts, and frankly most people just don’t want to buy as much brick and mortar as they used to.
We missed the family members who weren’t there with us, but it was an outstanding visit and it was nice to be back at home where mom was giving us chores, my brother and I were making fun of each other, and our sister was doing whatever it is that sisters do most of the time (I have never known). A lot of it was reminiscent of when I was growing up, and it was nice to step into the past for a few days like that.
And on the last day of my visit, I went to church with my mom and stepped back into the past one more time when a congregation member I didn’t recognize at first came up to me and told me how much I looked like my Dad.
I had not heard that in quite a while, and it was great to be reminded of how I look like him. I wanted to tell her how much it meant to me and how I appreciated her coming over to say hello, but unfortunately all I got out was “peace.”
It has been a few years since my Dad has passed away, and it was pretty meaningful to me to be reminded of him on that Sunday morning, especially when I was in church. It was even better to realize that while I had been spending the weekend thinking about my past, somehow I had reminded someone else of my Dad and his past.
It was a fitting end to the visit, and the whole trip gave me a lot to think about. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the trip since I got back, and I’m reminded of it at times when I look in the mirror and try to see if I look like my Dad, or if I am thinking about some of the old stories or photos.
Mostly, though, I think about my family members and the cherished time we spent together when I am constantly scratching at this terrible poison ivy that is all over my arms and legs.
Why does poison ivy hate me? Why can’t I ever recognize it? I bet that my brother who wasn’t there thinks this is pretty funny.