For my grandparents' 60th anniversary:
When I think about my grandparents…
I see natural wonders—Devil’s Tower, the Grand Canyon, and Crater Lake—as well as the great palaces of the world: the Cow Palace and the Corn Palace. I see a needle-point wall hanging, whose loops are gradually filled with the names of grandchildren, and a yellowed comic about a destitute man explaining that his wife collects dolls. I see bubble lights, and puzzle pieces, and the countless stars of an Echo Summit night.
I hear the San Francisco Symphony playing animal noises and cousins telling knock-knock jokes over the CB radio. I hear dice rattling frantically in a tin lid and a church choir belting out their Christmas program. I hear hand bells, and the clatter of Scrabble tiles, and sleepy tales of Lake Wobegone.
I taste pink Jello salad with walnuts, and the distinctive flavor of a tall Jim washed down with a rootbeer float. I taste several weeks’ worth of bearclaws and sandwiches from a cooler, but also High Tea scones. I taste Chex mix and Danish butter cookies and soft serve from Sizzler on my birthday.
I smell the warm steam of Cabin waffles, mixing with smoke from the morning fire. I smell November turkey and December salmon, and sulfur bubbling out of Yellowstone mudpots.
I feel the heat of a long car ride through the Badlands and the chill of a September afternoon at Candlestick. I feel a well-worn “Cookie Monster blue” carpet and the rough ribs of the Yellow Room’s bedspread. I feel tip-toe hugs and bent-over kisses, and hands held for grace, in short… I feel love.