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27 March 2010 ~ over that second cup of coffee
I only have a minute because the weekend is full of chores and family time. My number three grandson turns seven today, hard for me to believe because those years have vanished in a heartbeat. Rylee Boone is going through that awkward gap toothed phase and between missing teeth and his endearing New Joisey accent you really have to listen carefully to understand everything he says. I hope Ry hangs on to his willingness to cuddle just a little longer than his cousin did because Decklyn can usually weasel out of a hug pretty quickly. The little boys are still the best cuddlers if you can catch them, but the big boys will still snuggle close if you are reading a book and it is almost bedtime. I like it when we can channel some of that little boy physical energy into bear hugs and wrestling rather than punches and pushing. Heather caught her two little ones (ages 2 and 4) boxing gently with each other and it tickles me that they know how to spar without hurting each other.
I just had to explain the vintage RV photos that I posted today. The “museum” dedicated to our family is right next door to my home so I have access to thousands of my Mom’s old photos and documents. I was hanging out with Mom last week when we came across some of her own family history research and old pictures so I brought a battered suitcase full of stuff home with me. I can’t wait to pore over each picture and read the memories that Mom has been writing down but I am already stalled out on the pictures at the top of the pile. What a fascinating glimpse into some of Mom’s fondest memories!
My Grandpa and his many siblings each inherited a chunk of land in the beautiful San Luis Valley in southwestern Colorado. Grandpa ran sheep on his section and my Mom has the best memories of growing up in this scenic valley between the San Juan Mountains and the Sangre de Cristos range. Some of her favorite stories revolve around camping with her family in the 1930s.
During the warm months Basque shepherds would take the flocks into the mountains to graze in the cool air. Many times each summer, Grandpa would load his wife, his five sons and one daughter and deliver supplies to the sheepherders. The family would camp for several days before they went back to the valley and home.
One year Grandpa decided that it would simplify this process if he just built the tent onto the truck and didn’t have to take it down each day as they moved to another campsite, so the first family Recreational Vehicle was born. Grandpa started with a canvas tent constructed on the bed of an old Model TT truck then made gradual improvements every year. Some of the later pictures reflect a moving cabin with wood sides, framed windows and a porch with a real railing. The family was thrilled to be camping in style!
My Mom remembers that the road to sheep camp was so familiar that the kids knew when it was time to jump out of the truck to lighten the load. There were certain steep grades and sharp turns where the old truck would bog down with the weight and Grandma would shout instructions to her brood that would get out and push for awhile. When Mom tells the stories I can just see the kids, some pushing and some walking alongside. Mom says sometimes they would run ahead and play in the creek for a few minutes until the old truck finally caught up with them.
Mom can still make me laugh with the memories of family camping and her first motor home. I know it was a very happy time in her life. These pictures trigger some great memories and when Mom starts talking I can almost hear the bubbling creek and feel the icy water on bare feet. I can just imagine the happy laughter of kids running through grassy patches of wildflowers. And I can feel the happiness of a little girl playing with her brothers as her Mom cooks breakfast over a smoky campfire and her Dad fishes for brookies. I know Mom is feeling the same things.
You can read a bit more about my Mom’s childhood here: http://www.aarp.org/community/RockyMountainGirl/journals/ROOTED_IN_THE_VALLEY/1924242?cn=STREAM_RockyMountainGirl_journals_large_PAGE5