The story of the best year of my life. When I lived in the country w/ my grandma as a kid.
| How does one begin to tell the story of the greatest year of one’s own life? I myself prefer to think of it in this context. It all began when I was around seven or eight years old. Sadly, my favorite grandmother, Dorothy Mae Bessler suffered from an unfortunate and unexpected accident in a church parking lot of all places.
Little did I know back then, how God, can make good come out of the most horrible situations. Looking back now I have realized that everything, even bad accidents, all work together to God’s own glory. I guess it is really just a matter of trusting in God enough to know that He can and does often like to turn it all around. Anyway back to my story--- I guess it all started when we began our drive to my grandma’s cabin located in the town of Mooresville, Indiana.
The drive out to the cabin was actually the best part of the whole journey. The scenery seemed to have been the most breath-taken, beautiful, and awe-inspiring of all the parks in the big city combined. I had no clue, at that time, how that one little memory, could change my whole outlook on my whole young-adult life. The colors all seem to be so fuzzy and blurry in the back of my mind. Yet, they also seem so crystal-clear.
Green rolling hills and trees twisted into fields filled with grazing light, chocolate-brown milk cows. Everything was encircled and almost out-lined, by barely-there old fences that appeared to have been there since the days of the first pioneers. Birds chirped and bees buzzed all to the sound of the swaying trees. The never ending rainbow of wildflowers and the taste of summer sunlight, still make me almost half-smile inside to this very day.
It did not bother me that my parents were on the verge of ending their 20-year-long marriage. Or that my four-year-old younger brother would later be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder. Even the fact that my dear grandmother had fallen in a church parking lot and had her knee swell up to the size of a golf-ball, did not bother me. In my mind I was not even sure what size a golf ball was exactly.
The only thing that mattered to me was living in the present and enjoying the moment. It was a perfect sunny, summer day -well as perfect as Indiana weather could possibly be- and the trip had been pleasant. As we drove up my Grandma Dottie’s gravel driveway I remember the feeling of excitement I got in the pit of my stomach about the adventures to that were to come. I would soon find out how that year would be the best year of my whole childhood existence.
As I stepped out of the car after the long ride, I stretched my arms and breathed in the clean, fresh air. No more big-city pollution smells for me anymore, just the refreshing smell of fresh-cut grass and wildflowers. I could feel the excitement building inside me and I could not still any longer. Before I knew it I was running. I was running all over, anywhere and everywhere.
There were virtually no boundaries just wide open spaces to be conquered and hidden places to be found. I was beginning to feel the never ending freedom that being in the country could give me. This feeling of freedom was very different from the restraints I had gotten used to previously while living in the big metropolis of Indianapolis, Indiana. Suddenly, it was as if the sky was the limit and no feat was too big to be accomplished.
I would run, roll, jump, fall, and get back up again. I would play outside all day from sunrise to sunset. I would only take breaks for meals and school. The rest of the time was mine to enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounded me each day.
Now you might be wondering if I just played outside by myself all day and you might ask if I got lonely. My answer to both of those questions is, “No way!” Luckily, for me I had a built-in playmate in my four-year old younger brother Brendan. If I ever felt lonely or bored he was always there for me to be with. Now sure sometimes he was there even when I wanted to play by myself but, it was only because he thought I was so cool. And of course I was cool. Or at least I thought I was cool. Ha ha ha.
However, if at some point in the day I did finally get sick my little brother following me around, I had a few back up plans. My first back up plan consisted of seeing if my other sibling was busy. In addition to having a younger brother to play with, I also had an older sister named Nicole. She was about fourteen years old at the time we moved to the cabin. She was a freshman in high school and so she was usually busy with high school-age things. Although sometimes she would play with us younger kids for a little while.
My other back up plan could be found nearby. Down the long gravel driveway and across the street of my grandma’s cabin lived some of my favorite neighbors. These were the only neighbors who lived closest to us and had children near my age. Their youngest daughter was a few years older than me and their older son was near my older sister’s age. Their names were Terry and Amy. Sometimes Amy would let me play with her even though it probably was not good for her reputation of being a cool older kid.
From time to time both my sister and I and Amy and Terry would play together. Usually we would go to Amy and Terry’s backyard to play. They had huge woods with an equally huge ravine in it. At the top of the huge ravine was a long rope swing with a wooden seat. We all took turns swinging across the deep ravine and trying not to get scared and scream. I was always scared that I would fall in. So sometimes I would either only look at the woods across from the ravine or just close my eyes altogether.
Once we get sick of swinging over the ravine we would usually hike through part of their woods. Usually we would not get too far into our hike before one our parents called for both my sister and I or for our friends. Then we would all have to turn around and run back home. Most of the time when we got called in, it was to eat lunch or go run some errands. Then as soon as we got back we would see if our friends were still able to play. That is how most of my summer days went at the cabin and I enjoyed all of them.
I was fortunate enough to have some of my first encounters with different parts of nature at the cabin too. I saw my first hummingbird on the back porch of the cabin at nectar feeder. I was amazed at how small and powerful it was as it flew back in forth like a little helicopter. It had a bright, beautiful emerald green head and I could have sworn that it looked at me. I saw it many more times and every time I still felt as in awe as the first time.
One day I walked out onto the enclosed screen porch to head outside to play. As I headed for the door something caught my eye, it was a bright orange fox! It was a gorgeous rust color with a pure white strip of fur on its chest and a white tip on the end of its tail. I stood still and silent for a moment just to watch this wild creature as it passed by. I learned quickly to be observant of my surroundings because I never knew what creature I would see next.
Another day I spied a deer from our screen porch. I watched as it ate some foliage on the ground and made its way back to the woods at the edge of the field that was our backyard. Sometimes I would see a small family of deer eating together out in the field. It was always a refreshing surprise that would brighten my day.
I was always afraid that I would see an unwelcome creature from the porch or worse right in front of me. I was always worried that I would ever see a bear around the cabin but I was happy when I never did. I probably saw a skunk a few times but it was never to close me. Sometimes the neighbor’s big dogs would get lose from their pens and sniff around the cabin but usually I was inside when that happened. At the time I was scared of big dogs and never wanted to get too close to them.
My mom was another person in my family who lived in the cabin that year along with my sister, brother, and I. She also loved being out in the country probably as much as I did. She would sit on the swing in the screen porch and just listen to the sounds of nature as she rocked back in forth with a “creak-creak”. Often times she would make lunch or dinner and serve it on the back patio table so we could eat outside. Other times she would lay out a big blanket and bring out a basket of food so we could have a picnic in the grass.
Of course my Grandma Dottie was the one who made all these great memories happen. Without her the cabin would be just a building made of logs and bricks. She is the one who made the cabin a home and made me always want to be there. In fact I truly believe that my love of nature and log cabins came from her. Not only did my love of the outdoors come from her genes but from the example she set of how to enjoy nature and take care of it.
One experience in particular stands out in my mind. It was a sunny spring day and Grandma Dottie asked if I could help her plant some flower seeds. We went out front next to the cabin and began digging some small holes. Then we poured our flower seeds all over the ground and covered them back up with dirt. She watered the ground with her watering can and creating little streams in the earth.
Not long after we plated the seeds the flowers began to grow. I could not believe how many colors were appearing from all of the flowers. I mentioned it to her and she that is why she liked planting that flower assortment because you never know wants going to pop up later. It was a good surprise to have when you find out later what beautiful flowers appear from the unknown seeds that you planted. In a way it is the same with God, He plants seeds in you and you never know how the fruit will look in the end. However, you always know that it will be a beautiful result in accordance with His plan.
Word Count: 1264