This is about my husband and his mom taking a drive to visit old familiar places...not long before she died. One place was near her childhood home, an old creek that Ernest always called "grandpa's creek".
We stop on our nostalgia trip
at an ancient wooden bridge
and look below to where the reeds
grow thickly at the edge
of a shallow branch of the river
and for a moment we do not speak.
Then I say at last, incredulous,
"Can this be Grandpa's Creek?"
Across some water- beveled rocks
a little rapid spills.
We called that spot "the waterfall".
a sad reality fills
my eyes as I see it now
with perspective born of age:
a meager, little knee high wash
no wider than a page!
But looking at my mother's face
as she looks back through time,
I see it with my childhood eyes
and me, just so, at nine:
a scrawny kid in baggy trunks
with freckles and a tan-
screaming, gleeful, soaking wet-
without a future plan.
Summers with my sisters there
a dozen miles from town,
they'd hold me under three feet deep
with the promise I would drown.
My mother watched us from the bank
or waded out up to her knees
laughing or else scolding us
to "be more careful please".
She sees that now I am quite sure
the scene in sight arranged,
a perfect place of memory
no matter how it's changed.
A little farther up the road
she shouts for me to wait.
"Oh look, it's the old corn crib
there just beyond the gate.
Daddy built that for the cow's feed
right on that very spot.
Why haven't these people torn it down
with this fine new house they've got?"
"Oh I guess for the novelty." I say
"They probably call it an antique."
And I wonder do their kids go down
to play in Grandpa's Creek.