The big walnut tree

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I know quite a lot of people who hate walnuts! They are probably not my favorite nut but I do happen to know they are very good for us.   Good for the brain I have been told. But walnuts are more than a really healthy nut to me. They are memories.

When I was just a little girl with absolutely no worries at all and bathed in unconditional love I would frequently visit my great grandparents on my mom’s side. They came from poverty and migrated here during the dust bowl in hopes of a better life. It was so hard for them, but they were hard working and determined people and they settled in California up north in a farming town. They had a really beautiful big walnut tree in the middle of their yard. When I was little it seemed enormous and the yard seemed sprawling. I’m not sure how many of you have visited Northern California, more inland where the farming country is but the soil smells sweet and I remember this sweet smell of the soil. Grandpa had hung a swing in that grand tree and I often would sit on the swing and dangle my little childhood feet having endless conversations with myself because I was born first to my mom and my little sister didn’t come until 11 years later. And although my mom remarried and I gained a brother who was 6 years older than me, I was mostly an only child for quite some time. So I was completely content being alone on the swing under the big beautiful walnut tree talking to myself.

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This is a real photo of my great grandparents with two of their children, I think that’s my grandpa there, the boy and the little girl is my Aunt Louise

I remember their back garden where in the far back grandpa would burn their trash every so often and it was such a treat to stand next to grandpa in his old hat and trousers as we watched the trash burn together. He was a quiet man, very quiet but I loved him so dearly because he would let me comb his hair while he watched t.v. and we would walk to the corner store together, he with his hat, hand in hand walking down the dirt path. He would quietly tell me I could pick out a toy or treat every time we went. I cherished those little trinkets so very much. I specifically remember two of the toys very much.  One was a tiny little Asian doll and the other was a small tea set.

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This is NOT a walnut tree but just some trees, pictures were limited this post but my posts always must includes pictures

At night when we would get ready for bed, I slept with grandma and grandpa slept in a tiny room that was more like a passing hall with a twin bed. I remember grandma’s clock. Tick, tick, tick. I remember the smell of Vicks. I remember the sound of distant trains and the sprinklers that go tee, tee, tee, tee. So when I hear these sounds today, when I smell the Vicks. I think of them. My mind goes straight back to when times were easy, simple and free spirited.

I could go on and on and on about my good memories with great grandpa and grandma but really, the walnuts I just ate. They reminded me of this. And each time I see walnuts this is where my heart returns. I bet you have similar stories associated with sounds, smells or certain foods? And sadly I have not too many images to share because back then we didn’t take pictures of our every days we instead stored them in our heads and in our hearts.

 

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Things my mom taught me

How to be grateful for all the things we have, big or small

How to treat others as we would like to be treated

How to always say please and thank you

How to NOT judge a book by its cover

How my attitude is everything and it can make or break me

How to laugh with abandon…..the list goes on and on.  So much so that I was able to write her nearly an entire year’s worth of things I’m thankful for about her.  So much of the person I am today was shaped by my mother.  I’m fortunate enough to have a really great mom.  She was a young mom but she took her job serious and I benefited from her courage and commitment.  Other boys and girls were not as fortunate.  She took exceptional care of me.  I can’t thank her enough for that.  I still think she is the most beautiful person inside and out. She still protects me and she still wants the very best for me.  She will always be my mom no matter how old I keep getting.  I’m proud of her. It feels good to have a mom like her. So today.  I just wanted to acknowledge her, to say thank you.  I love you mom to the moon and back infinity squared.

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grateful for the rain and legs that move me

rain walkLast night I walked in a drizzle.  It’s the best time to walk.  The smell of the wet asphalt is completely nostalgic for me, the mist on my face felt cold and I was so appreciative for the little bit of rain that fell upon our dry land.

I’m not very good at handling cold.  It was cold for me, the California native.  I wore grandpa’s hat.  I cherish his hat.  He left us too soon and his hat brings me comfort along with the roses he gave me that I watch bloom throughout the year.  His aloe vera plant that is bursting to seed right now at this very moment. I hold these things close.  I know they are just things but they are also reminders to me of a great man.  So I hold them close and I feel special when I wear his hat.  It keeps my ears warm in the California cold, drizzly night.  I walk and I remember him.

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I smell the smoky wood from a few fireplaces blazing, I smell wet grass, I see glistening sidewalks and I’m grateful that I have legs that move me.  Today it’s simple – being thankful for the sprinkles.

I had a visitor last night in my dream

Have you ever had one of those dreams, the kind where you get to visit a loved one who has already moved on into the next life? When I have this kind of dream, I don’t want to wake up.  I want to stay there.  Hang out for a good long while, ask some serious after life questions. What’s it like, what’s your soul been up to?  Last night in my dream my grandpa made an appearance.  When I woke up this morning I wrote the dream in my journal because I didn’t want to forget.   On May 6, 2010 just three days after my 40th birthday I lost my grandpa.  I found him again last night.   I turned around in that cabin’s old dirty kitchen that needed the walls painted badly and he was there.  His warm approachable face was smiling back at me, arms outreached for one of his strong, meaningful hugs.  I lingered in this hug last night just a little longer because I have missed him so much.  He wore a light blue, crisp dress shirt and black slacks.  I had conversation with him but sadly I can’t remember what we talked about.  My grandma she was there too at the cabin but she couldn’t see him. Only I could see him.  I could hear him, I could feel him.  Thank you grandpa for visiting me in my dreams last night, I have missed you so very much.

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Shortly after he passed I began to notice white egrets or some call herons. The strangest sighting was in my backyard one morning, one landed on my rooftop and I had never seen an egret land on my rooftop or be anywhere near my home.  The white egret just stood there, prehistoric, and wise looking.  Standing still for a moment then flew away.  Now when I spot an egret, a white one.  I think of him.  For a while after he passed I would visit this one little park and try to find the one egret that lived there.   I would get so excited when I would find him just standing in a shallow pool of water. I would sit still for several moments just watching this bird.  My grandpa had a fountain made of egrets. The fountain is still there with my grandma.

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