When I was a kid, I’d spend a week at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house during summer vacation. Back then, being away from my parents and my siblings was the purest form of freedom I knew. Not to mention the fact that my grandparents absolutely spoiled us. My Grandpa would take us fishing whenever we wanted, even though we’d spend the majority of our time baiting hooks, losing the bait and retrieving the fishing line from whatever it was caught in. My Grandma would cook. Breakfast was often bacon and eggs. Lunch was usually fried—she was especially skilled at making hamburgers in the skillet. Dinner was usually big and always involved a homemade dessert. Cherry pies. Angel food cake. Apple crisp.
However, even with all the food and fishing, the most memorable part of the annual visits was sitting on their front porch. They lived in a big old Victorian with bay windows, high ceilings and a porch that spanned the entire front-end of the house. Usually my Grandma would wake up around 4 or 5 and head out to do crosswords. My Grandpa would join around 6 to drink coffee. Somewhere in there, I’d stumble down the stairs and find my place. They’d gossip about the neighbors as they went by and I’d take in every detail. We’d watch the birds and the squirrels race around the yard. My Grandma would tell stories. Their house at that time was only a few houses away from where they raised my aunt and uncle, so there was a lot of history to recap.
The porch was always occupied. It didn’t matter how hot or humid it was outside. Weather wasn’t an issue. As a matter of fact, bad weather was often a good reason to go sit on the porch. We’d watch the lightning flash and gauge the direction of the wind. Usually the TV was blaring the Wichita news channel as we kept our eye out for Tornado warnings.
Yesterday I woke up around 6. I saw clouds rolling in and decided to head for the deck. A few minutes later the rain started. Eventually the wind picked up and there was nowhere to go to avoid getting soaked. I stood there anyway. I thought about my funny life. I thought about my Grandparents and all the ways they’ve influenced me. As I finished my coffee, I thought about breakfast and suddenly had the most uncontrollable urge for bacon and eggs.