Monday, June 18, 2012

Day Two - Sharin' The Love

Friday, June 15th

Lynchburg, Virginia to Wernersville, Pennsylvania: 323 miles, drive time of 5 hours and 56 minutes.

Potty Breaks: 2; "Gummies" Consumed: 7; Tears: 5 minutes; Exercise: Running around Grammy's yard.

You'll notice my "Gummy" count: These include Dora snacks, gummy worms, or any other small treat incentive I might have to use to lure a toddler into a grimy public restroom to pee and/or poop, or to get her to go before we eat a meal when she cries, "No! I don't WANNA go potty! I wanna eat RIGHT NOW!" I realize food rewards are not the best, but I maintain something small a few times a day is better than going all out with cake or ice cream. Besides, the ice cream is MY reward for my amazing maternal abilities and unending patience :-D

Day Two went just as well as Day One, actually, and the drive was simply gorgeous. Being a so-called grown up, I do typically favor the quicker highways to the back roads - not like when I was a teen with a hyundai and no cruise control. But for this leg of the journey, my gps navigation took me straight up through the Virgina mountains, giving us gorgeous views and taking us by rolling farms and vineyards.

When we finally crossed into West Virginia, it was time to stop to heat up our lunch and have yet another picnic. This stop was especially nice, because it was at a rest area with actual picnic tables and a big open area where we played a brief game of tag. They also had sky diving. Cool.

After spending a few minutes each driving through West VA and Maryland, we entered Pennsylvania and I promptly rolled all the windows all the way down. Pennsylvania has a smell that is just... intoxicating. It may sound weird to describe it this way, but having spent a week or two every summer of my entire childhood at my Grammy's house, this smell is imprinted in my brain and evokes a strong sense of nostalgia the second I cross the state line. I felt like a little kid, with a swelling sense of warmth and childish joy as my senses were filled with the sights and smells that are distinctly Pennsylvanian.

We arrived at my Gram's house and promptly dug into the storage chest underneath the windowsill where the toys that I played with as a child remained, stored rather haphazardly but still completely in tact. I thought that it must be pretty cool to sit there as a great-grandparent and witness generation after generation of children rip through the treasure chest, each kid exhibiting the same excitement and wonder at the old toys that are new to them just because they're different and inherently cooler because they're at Gram's and not at home.

After a delicious dinner of smoked pork (again... hey, I'm not complaining!), sweet potatoes, and yellow beans that I haven't had since the last time I was in PA (I never see them in the grocery stores in Georgia!), it was time to go outside to stop and smell the flowers.

Where the pool I swam in as a kid used to be is now a beautiful garden and while it was sad to learn she'd had her pool filled in, all the kids who once frequented her house for the reprieve from the summer heat are long grown and spread across the country. Little Miss still enjoyed the yard, though, especially leaping to try to touch the branches of the tree that stood in the pool's place.

Then, it was across the street to the ball field that stands adjacent to the old elementary school where my Grammy actually taught, before it was sold to the county to become a municipal building. Now, it stands empty, as the police have moved to a different facility. We are hoping someone else will take the building over and preserve it.

I was going to take my girl down to the playground where I used to play but it was already getting late and as I recall, the landings for the monkey bars and slide are like ten feet off the ground. Not a good idea for a tired kiddo, so on the stop through on our way back to Georgia, we'll give it a shot to see if the equipment has been made more little-kid friendly. For tonight, as we were already in desperate need of a bath, we settled for playing in the dirt.

Do you have any childhood places that you share - or wish to share - with your own kids?

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