Monday, March 20, 2006

(Piney River picnic, left, 1963)

My sister is in London until Friday. She left her computer at home and took paper and pen instead, saying she wanted to be in London the way it once would have been, free of instant messaging and satellite phone connection. I'm not supposed to call or email. I've resisted the phone call, but, of course, I've already sent her three emails, which she doesn't seem to have read, so I guess she's staying true to her vow.

With the edicts in place, it's awfully quiet around here. When my sister is at home, we talk all the time, either by phone, email, or in person. When I run out of things to say, she keeps right on going, and I say, "Uh, huh or "uh, uh" in reply, just like when we were young. I got to feeling nostalgic this morning and dug around in a closet for the white photo album where the old family photos are. I was looking for a particular image of my sister and me sitting in a pile of leaves on the curb in front of one of the Columbia, Missouri, homes. Instead, I found this picture from a 1963 picnic on the Piney River with my mother's mother (seated, background), my sister (foreground), me (in the middle), our shepherd Leki, my parents (off frame), and my mother's Aunt Maud and Uncle Willis (also off frame). It brought back fond memories of that river, where we searched for crawfish, skipped rocks, and collected buckeyes.

One summer, years after the 1963 picnic, my grandmother took my brother and me for a picnic on the Piney. She sat on the rocky riverbank to lay out our lunch while my brother and I, teenagers both, stripped off our clothes and lept off a boulder into the deep and dark waters below. My grandmother, a very proper grande dame indeed, looked up and smiled. "My little frogs," she said.